Most Aussie retirees want to help, but will they be able? 19



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When you imagined your retirement, along with the holidays, spare time and freedom, you may have also imagined helping out your loved ones.

However, a new study of older Australians who are still working shows that what we hope for in retirement and the reality sometimes don’t quite match up.

An industry fund survey found that 72 per cent of older working Australians with children were planning on helping their kids out financially by drawing down on their super or savings.

More than a third of the participants said they hoped to leave an inheritance for their children (36 per cent), while 29 per cent were planning on helping pay for their grandchildren’s education.

The remainder said they would like to gift their children with a holiday, or help them put a deposit on a house.

However, only half of the Australians who are soon to retire say they will only be able to afford a “modest” retirement, which is defined by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) as a lifestyle where a retiree can afford basic requirements plus private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes and a range of electronic equipment. They can also afford occasional international travel.

Having extra to help out the kids is probably beyond this standard of retirement for most people.

Damian Hill, the chief executive of REST, which commissioned the survey, said while it was admirable to want to help your children, retirees should remember that the primary purpose of superannuation is to fund your own retirement.

“Using retirement savings for other purposes may mean they become a financial burden on their own children later in life,” Mr Hill told Fairfax.

Do you hope to help your children out financially? Is this likely to be possible? 


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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. We didn’t have super except the one we paid into ourselves as we were self employed. Mine went on adding a laundry and second bathroom and then later, my late husbands we used for our tour around Australia.

    2 REPLY
    • We were self employed too. Mine went on renovating the bathroom as the shower stall was ready to drop through a rotten floor. Hubby’s paltry super was used to whittle down our mortgage before we downsized. Now, just a pension but debt free.

    • My husband died before we had finished the mortgage. With the two pensions we managed very well. I managed to pay the mortgage and everything else out of my pension. Took me 4 years to sell the small acreage we had but I’m now debt free and in a small unit. Still on the pension and content with my lot.

  2. If you help your kids financially you are not teaching them to be independent, I know people who have done this, with all good intentions and now they struggle, if the kids can’t afford to save for say, a deposit for a house how are they going to pay you, back, it’s not going to happen, kids have to learn to live with in their means,and not try to keep up with people/ friends who earn more than they do, if you can’t afford it don’t buy it

  3. I believe your children need to learn how to look after themselves. I believe this is your job as a parent. I also accept that this is only MY opinion

  4. I had no super before my mid thirties, and we have poured everything we can into investments since we got together in our early forties. I hope to have a comfortable retirement, but who knows what the future holds. We are planning for the future, but enjoying our lives NOW. Just in case.

  5. Why should we pay for grandchildren’s education. Not our problem. We paid for our kids so is up to them to do the same. Time we had a bit of money for ourselves for a change! Also let our kids buy their own places, we had to, no help from our parents.

    6 REPLY
    • Tough woman.
      I want to help. It’s tough now. Uni degree takes 6 to 7 years to pay off. 1975 it was 18months.
      Home costs are ridiculous.
      Not long until median price is
      1 million
      Grandkids will have burden of too many older people living longer and fewer jobs and environment disaster.
      Need help up.

    • Agree totally, we have 4 married children & 13 grandchildren & a great grandchild on the way. If we started helping one we’d never have anything left! It wouldn’t have occurred to us to ask for financial help from our parents so why this generation?

    • Miserable things… Who wouldn’t want to help their kids and grandkids if they could. Better hope you don’t need a hand when you are old…. Not many people you can rely on if not your family, and it goes two ways

    • One of the greatest of pleasures is helping your( child in my case) children to have the opportunities of an education to a level that was not available to you.My son is a Political Scientist at a North American University and is married now,I invested in his abilities and he hasnt let me down.That experience he will surely pass on to his children.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with Kathy’s comments as my daughter (deservedly after many, many years of study), earns an extremely handsome salary and with her husband also fully employed, they are in a position to live a lifestyle I could only have dreamed of.

  6. I would love to help more but with modest income I am restricted.
    Got nothing from divorce.
    Raised 3 children alone and worked full time as a nurse paying off a mortgage
    super wasn’t compulsory the first decade or so therefore not as comfortable as u would like to be.
    I will love my grandies as much as i can and leave them a little.

  7. I still work 3 days a week but it’s to pay for a holiday for me each year. My family think it’s a great idea. They aren’t expscting any finanvial gains from me.

  8. dont have superann, am a carer have been for so many years , wont have my health either im 55 and its falling apart due to caring without help and falling in a vegie shop didnt have a right to fight for compo cos i didnt break a bone

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