New government site for over-60s offers ‘life check’ advice

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Australians aged 45 and over are being encouraged to plan for their future. Source: Shutterstock

Older Australians are being urged to take a free online life check which quizzes them on their health, social life and finances in order to assess how prepared they are to live a longer life.

The federal government launched its new Life Checks website on Tuesday, inviting those aged 45 and over to answer a series of questions about their health and well-being, financial circumstances, social life and working arrangements, with the aim of helping more Aussies live longer.

The $6.5 million government site asks questions such as ‘how are you feeling’, ‘what is your approach to the future’ and ‘what are your health priorities’, before delivering a tailored set of results that rank your life out of five stars across all four categories.

All results are private and each person receives a score, along with a page of tips and suggestions about changes they can make to “take positive steps towards better health and greater security”.

“Life Checks aim to provide Australians with a clear picture of how they are currently tracking and how they can prepare for the next stages in their lives,” Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said.

“We should be aiming to live well to 100 or more,” said Minister Wyatt. “We’re already living 25 years longer than we did a century ago and we owe it to ourselves, our families and the nation to live the best we can.”

This is an example of the advice provided by the website.
This is an example of the advice provided by the website.

Currently the average life expectancy in Australia is 82.5 years, however Wyatt wants more Aussies to reach the 100 mark, predicting a total of more than 40,000 centenarians in the country by 2050.

One member of Starts at 60’s editorial team sat down to take the quiz, posing as a woman over-65, to see what advice the government had to offer.

Scoring highly in the health category, tips for maintaining that level of good health included exercising more frequently, as well as changing the type of exercise to improve bone density. It was also suggested that they start using fitness apps or a step-counter to track their movement.

The website said it seemed like our reporter could benefit from some help with their finances.
The website said it seemed like our reporter could benefit from some help with their finances.

However, our reporter scored far lower when it came to their finances, and the government offered a selection of tips about how to save and build retirement savings by redirecting the user to ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

“Being informed about your finances help you make the most of your money to set you up for the future you want,” the results read. “ASIC’s website has useful information on investing, superannuation, insurance and tax.”

There are two different versions of the quiz, with one aimed at those below retirement age (45-64), while another is tailored to those over the age of 65.

“An important aspect of Life checks is assessing people’s financial preparedness for the future,” Wyatt added. “Four in 10 Australians over the age of 55 do not have a financial plan for the next five years, with even fewer people having a plan that extends beyond that.

“Options for employment are also included, whether the focus is to keep earning or to stay involved in the community.

“With so many types of work available and flexible working arrangements, retirement is no longer the only choice.”

To find out more or to take the quiz visit www.lifechecks.gov.au.

Do you think this is a good initiative? Do you plan on taking the quiz?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and for information purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not financial product advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any financial decision you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from an independent licensed financial services professional.

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