Why do we resent retirees who CAN pay their own way in this country? 255



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If you sit back and listen to the commentators in our beautiful country, Australia, and perhaps New Zealand too, it seems the people who work hard, pay tax and contribute to the economy of our grand nation are resented and even chastised for their ability to be self-sufficient and to have done it for themselves when others couldn’t. But today we have to stop and ask why? Why is it deemed to be so bad by the media and others to have worked hard, made money and paid tax in this country at the moment, saving for the future and paying your own way in retirement? Surely this is the great Australian dream coming true, that people migrated here for over the last 200 years?

Yet if you read the paper, you would think not.

Everywhere you look at the moment, there is a battle being waged against Australia’s wealthy and self-sufficient. Even here, on Starts at 60, it can sometimes feel like the resentment between those with and those without comes without a respect for each other’s individual paths in life.

The funny thing is this is meant to be the country of great opportunity. Remember, we’re the lucky country where we forged our own future, without social hierarchy and everyone who worked hard could have a go at making it. We’re the society where tradesmen can get rich, without upper class educations or social networks; where people who work hard make good, and where everybody deserves a “fair go”… aren’t we?

I was listening to a group of retired men the other day discussing their past and their future and how they felt about the way Australia is going. It was a fascinating conversation. All of the people at the table were self-funded retirees and the conversation went like this…

“I’m not sure what’s going on anymore, but I really feel like the enemy for saving hard and only managing to retire when I finally thought I would be able to afford my retirement. I planned for it, saw financial planners, and budgeted hard, with my wife to be able to live out our retirement dream. We’ve built up a plan to afford the couple of good trips of our dreams, before settling back into our downsized home and enjoying the life we hoped we would.

“Now according to the media we’re some sort of enemy to be targeted for having too much super, which is now seen as some sort of crime against society and a pot to be raided by all who are worse off. How can this be, when we aren’t a burden on the economy and nothing we did in putting our money away was illegal? Somehow we’ve become a sort of pariah. And if we have the insensitivity to speak up, we’re dismissed as being greedy, money grabbing rich people, exploiting the economy. Is this just and reasonable in “fair go” Australia”.

The nodding heads around the table were palpable after this statement, and everyone told their own stories of how they had felt targeted over the next 20 minutes. But all agreed it was a largely unpopular subject to discuss in the public domain and so they would rather remain anonymous in doing so. It seems there is a group of people who feel very alone in having strived for success, achieved it and are now “not” sponging off Australia, to enjoy their later years. Shouldn’t we celebrate them?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Pensioners don’t resent you, but they get annoyed when rich retirees come in here and tell us we are greedy because we can’t afford to give up the ANY money from our small pensions. The people you have to worry about is the Government you voted for. They are the ones who started all of this. As for the media , well I assume they can see the injustice of the poor being targeted by this Government while the rich get a free pass !!

  2. I dislike the “if I can do it, anyone can” . Comes across as smug, and doesn’t take into account individual circumstances and restrictions. My sister and hubby are self funded, I’m a disability pensioner. Don’t resent them in the least.

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  3. No resentment from me..I don’t care what anyone has but I resent people who don’t live my life telling me I can exist on less money and who are abusive when I try to explain that I can’t.. no matter what their circumstances are

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    • Agree totally unless you walk in someone elses shoes dont sit in judgement of others not everyone has a happy life and a lot of people are lucky not to fall on hard times .

  4. Who resents retirees who can pay their own way? That’s absurd. Perhaps it’s the other way around, and given some of the comments on this subject that I’ve seen on this site from time to time, I think it is the other way around. Retirees who can afford to self fund their retirement think everyone who is unable to, are lazy bludgers who just didn’t try hard enough, and don’t mind telling them so either.

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    • That’s right Margaret. I have not read anything that I can recall, about pensioners resenting the self funded retiree. The only things I have read are about pensioners resenting being targeted while rich companies pay very little, if any, tax. I think there are some people who are trying to divide pensioners. I have no resentment for pensioners who are self funded and I do wish I was but like others we have worked hard all our lives but due to circumstances have to rely on the pension.

    • Yes, that is what I am dirty about, the ASSUMPTION anyone not in their position either was a bludger & relies on Social Security all their lives OR that you wasted your pay & now rely on the pension.

      Many people have worked extremely hard all their lives, some tried a business which did not work so it puts you back, or getting a job that only JUST provides for your bills (many many people are on a low salary of around $40K and after tax you still have to pay your rent/mortgage, insurances, try to run a car so you can go to work, clothing, feed yourself and can’t afford holidays etc) in some cases paying child support which just beggars you.

      What about the single mothers who don’t get child support? Just because it has been awarded does not mean it gets paid, or if the father is deceased they don’t get any help.

      So when you are on a salary that is fairly low there IS no way to provide extra for your future and also not enough time to get enough in your super to provide for yourselves. If you were able to do then bully for your, but please do not judge anyone who is in this position.So to sit there smugly judging everyone IS discriminatory & frankly bloody unfair. Is it any wonder you want to say WTF???

    • I agree Margaret. I have worked hard my whole life like most other over 60’s, and I have saved specifically for my retirement since my early twenties. There is no way I can afford to retire at 66, as much as I would love to – I will have been in the workforce for over 50 years by then. I live a modest lifestyle, I don’t waste money. I get angry when people imply it is my fault I don’t have enough money. I have done my best with what I have, and I know there are a lot of others out there in the same boat.

    • In NZ, a resident who has lived in NZ for 10 years after the age of 50, is eligible for the age pension, from 65 years. There is no means test! This means that a millionaire can access the pension, as it is looked upon as being a type of superannuation. I think things will have to change, as the baby boomers all reach retirement age, because it will be a drain on the economy. Self-funded retirees, and I happen to be one, not 65 yet, should not hold resentment for others not in their financial position. Life treats each of us differently, and sometimes I wonder how some have made so much, was it luck, inheritance, or double dealing. Hopefully, from hard work and a bit of luck thrown in, but there are a lot of previously hard-working pensioners out there, so give them a break, is my thinking.

  5. It doesn’t always work that way, My husband and I worked hard to provide for out retirement, but unfortunate circumstances meant we had to give it all up and depend on the pension.

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    • The trouble is everyone is fighting their own battle, no matter how green the grass looks from the other side. I just wish the govt would target their own set-up, not ours!

  6. I don’t even think about self funded retirees.Good luck to them,i wish i was one.Unfortunately not all people were able to be in the position where they could fund their own retirement.

  7. There are probably people in both situations with resentment, just like any other issue. How about we just mind our own business and enjoy our retirement – however it’s funded.

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  8. When I was little, I was read the story of “The Little Red Hen”. That story so describes society as it is today. I think it must be a marvellous feeling to be able to be free of Centrelink and enjoy life on one’s own terms.

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