Our Community Cares: Trapped in a system that is forcing me into poverty 86

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This week, Starts at 60 member David wrote to us, asking for some community advice:

I am 62 years old and have been unemployed for over a year. I decided to withdraw my superannuation out at 61 because I needed the money and don’t trust any Government. They can change the rules. This has cost me any payment from Centrelink for unemployment or any training. If I put money back into super I can get Newstart but I will pay tax on any money that makes me in interest again. My question is what is the difference between having money in super and having the same money in fixed term accounts? I also decided that I can live overseas very cheaply for the next few years on my super money but then found out at 65 I cannot get the old age pension and take it overseas because I was out of the country two years prior to claiming it. In other words I need to come back to Australia and spend double the super money to live here two years before I turn 65.5.

So now I feel trapped in a system that is hell bent in forcing me into poverty by making sure I cannot claim any entitlements I paid for over 46 years of working. I started work at 16 I am now 62. Finally I just want to add that letting me live overseas on my Super saves the Government 3 years of unemployment money. If they give me my pension it also saves them money on benefits such as medical, prescriptions ,Transport etc. It just doesn’t make sense that the will block you from transporting your pension overseas for a better life.

Can you help him? What is your advice?

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  1. Hmm, seems to me he’s created this problem himself. I doubt he asked anyones advice prior to withdrawing his super. The rules aren’t hard to find out. A simple phone call could have saved him all the misery.

    6 REPLY
    • Unfortunately, it is easier to see a better way in hindsight. However he came to be in his current position, David needs constructive advice on how to make the best of the situation. He paid his taxes for over 46 years, and contributed greatly to this country. He deserves better. Good luck, David

    • Well good for you Wayne that your a man of the world Some of us don’t have your experience and end up trusting the wrong person and get burned oh well lesson learned
      I have made some regretful mistakes due to lack of knowledge and wrong advise Yes my fault some people find it hard to start all over again we are not all perfect lucky for me I get back up and try again in spite of my mistakes

    • Sadly you could not offer the same level of understanding to David, Wayne. He asked for advice, not criticism

    • You’re not too bad on the criticism yourself Maureen. Sometimes the truth hurts. Such is life.

  2. Get a case worker see what she or he can do for you ! Things change all the time as well I suggest your carefull what party you vote for same for you all !

  3. David my advice would be to consult a financial advisor if you know of one who is reputable, because they also help you make the right decisions and are also willing to deal with Centrelink on your behalf. Your first hour – hour and a half visit is usually free.

    2 REPLY
    • Financial advisors I found to my determent snarky. They want your money. I feel for this guy as it is sometimes hopeless out there. Many find it hard to retrain in today’s computer environment.

    • Anne I have an awesome financial advisor who was recommended to me by a friend, nothing is to hard for her and she usually visits me and my friend at home. When I was having difficulty with Centrelink she took over and had it sorted in a day, she is worth her weight in gold.

      1 REPLY
      • Trash I would love to know who your financial advisor is. Is she from Victoria? I am overwhelmed with who to turn to to help sort my future out without ripping me off.

  4. I agree with Trish, get a financial adviser. If they are any good they know how to work within the system to maximise your financial position and help work out how to access Centrelink benefits. Government regulation and rules can be inflexible and often illogical but they are what we put up with until they change. The current financial situation isn’t a great place for retirees, low interest rates on cash investments and a poor share market are going to erode retirement nest eggs.

  5. I found myself in same situation at 59 unemployed but without super to fall back on .. I got the then “widows allowance” same as new start but without the pressure of having to prove I was looking for work .. I was though.. In nearly 2 years an employment agency sent me for 1 job interview and was told it was not in “their” interest to assist in paying for a course to retrain myself ..I didn’t hv the funds to pay. … i remarried n thus was entitled to nothing and too young for husband to claim me as a tax deduction .. finally gave up on finding a job and created my own … between leaflet delivery ( great exercise ) mystery shopping
    ( such fun n great to keep mind active) cleaning my church and a small cake decorating business I now have some financial income and lots of enjoyment doing what I like ..

  6. Wayne and Peter. Ok I rang both my Superfund and the Government and both were trying to scare me either way. Super didn’t want to let go of my money telling me about all the taxes and should I decide to go back to the workforce (after spending what little is in there because of the way it was set up by the gov in the first place) as most employers would not pay the super I would get charged .49cents in the dollar tax. Then the government has put me onNewstart yes oversixties in the same category as 18 yolds. I get $595 per fnight. My rent is 150 per week. That leaves me $75 a week to live on. From this I have to pay my phone $50 per month. I pay $50 a fortnight on fuel. And then theres rego. I do not buy clothes unless they cost less than $20. I own 2 pairs of shoes. And wear thongs mostly. I have to volunteer 30 hours a fortnight (but probably do more) or else look for 15 jobs a fortnight. I have to report to my service provider once a fortnight. My pension age has shifted to 67.5 years. I have worked since I was 15. When I started working I got paid 43cents in the hour. I just went for an admin job and all they were prepared to pay was $20 dollars an hour casual rates in a physiotherapy office. So don’t dictate and speak in a derogatory fashion to people just trying to live in todays crap ruled world.

    5 REPLY
    • I cant understand 1. how your employer refused to pay super, not possible, 2. how you could be charged 49c in the dollar tax. That could only happen if you have an ABN and didnt declare it. Both circumstances could easily be fixed. There’s a minimum payment you must be paid if you work on an hourly rate. There were no dictatorial nor derogatory comments made, maybe its just how you like to interpret whats written.

    • Em Wayne I don’t know about the suburbs as I live in a rural area I have actually worked for a lot less than $20 an hour believe me if you want the work you have to take what available there are many places don’t pay super or pay proper wages Many are working under some terrible conditions but a job is a job

    • Perhaps you should ffind out and ring someone because what I said is an actual account of my experience.

    • Angie Wood Isnt that what Unions are for? Actually those that work for under award wages and conditions, make it hard for everyone.

    • Wayne I think you are forgetting people have to live so when you have bills to pay and you may like to eat you will take what is offered to you. Many small businesses in rural areas would close if people did not take less pay then there would be nothing. I think you need to live in the real world before you make stupid comments. Unions don’t care about people living in the bush.

  7. What annoys me is that when politicians are out of work they get paid mega dollars and never have to worry again, their system only looks after them and as far as they are concerned its bugger the tax payer they are all crooked they do not care one bit about the people who vote for them only interested in lining their own pockets !!!!

  8. Don’t know mate, but ageism is certainly a bigger problem in this country than it should be! Once you’re over 50 forget it!

  9. You should put your money back into superannuation if you can, and arrange for a transition to retirement, this will allow you to draw some money from your account. You will need to check with your centrelink how much you can draw from your superannuation without effecting newstart, this may provide an acceptable income until you find some employment. If you do become employed you can contribute to your superannuation and still continue drawing money from it. The government is thinking of changing this but it’s unlikely to effect you in your time frame to retirement. All your savings in the bank will be earning interest that’s taxable where as in superannuation it will be tax free. If you have concerns you may need to seek financial advice.

    5 REPLY

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