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

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…

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“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?

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