Australia’s pension report card says we could do better 151



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A global survey has pitted government pension systems against each other to see which nation’s retirees are best looked after. And according to the study by consultants, Mercer, Australia could do better.

Our pension system is ranked third in the world, coming in after Denmark and The Netherlands, reports The Australian.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index survey examined the systems of the top 25 countries in the world, taking in government and private retirement schemes.

Australia has slipped from second to third place, although report author says that has more to do with how households’ savings rates were calculated.

According to the report, Australia ranks well for “sustainability”, meaning the government showed willingness to make the pension an ongoing right for all Australians, however, it did not look at government debt, which remains at 30 per cent GDP – interestingly, this is lower than Denmark’s.

So why do the Danes fare better? Unlike in Australia, the Danish pension system covers every worker, including those who are self-employed.

Report author David Knox said, “Also, the Dutch and Danes have between 160 and 170 per cent of GDP in current pension assets, against about 120 per cent for Australia. They’ve got more people in their systems and they’ve got more assets.’’

Australia scored highest in the world for “adequacy” because of the relatively high value of the pension compared to the average working wage.

However, there were areas Australia could improve, starting with raising the compulsory employer contribution levy from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent.

Another area of weakness is the length of the gap between pension eligibility and lifespan. It was suggested that Australia is not “keeping up” by moving the pension age later.

Do you think Australia has a world-class pension system? Do you agree that it is “adequate”?


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  1. Australia should be number one on the list, despite what the Government is telling us Australia is a wealthy country and our debt is low compared to other countries, pensioners by working all their adult lives till retirement helped contribute to that wealth

    1 REPLY
  2. I wonder where we would have been on that list if the Liberal Government had done what it wanted to do and cut the CPI rise? a lot lower than third I bet

    2 REPLY
    • They have not finished yet Libbi. While we have a liberal government the threat is always there. They could not get it through the senate, but wait if ever they get the numbers in their it will be on the table for sure

  3. I wonder have they taken into account the high cost of living in Australia? If we got the same money in many countries we could live like Kings but in Australia we barely scrape by

  4. Third best in the entire world, yet they still complain.

    25 REPLY
    • At third best mate it hardly worth getting out of bed and running the race. Gold always goes to first best !!!

    • Wayne it sounds to me that you may not have to live on the PENSION alone which is great for you, however there are many of us who do have to live on the Pension and after paying our TAXES all our working lives and being told that for our HIGHER TAXES WE PAID we were promised our PENSION as there was no SUPERANNUATION until mid to late 1980’s which for most of us was way to late to accumulate enough to live on.

    • well said Trish and David, I doubt Wayne has much idea how pensioners manage, it is easy to judge when you are not one yourself

    • of course you would think so, you don’t have to survive on a pension, how thoughtful of you to tell those who do how well off they are, your a hypocrite !!

    • Now out come the nasties. Be sure of your facts Leanna Stephenson before you start throwing insults.

    • How does my FB page show my financial status? Nothing to hide there, not like most of those that constantly complain.

    • I do a lot of that thanks Trish. Hard work, investing and a good pension made it all possible.

    • Thats where you’re wrong, they can if they planned during their working lives and not spent all their earnings on good times.

    • There you go, you just admitted you were able to provide for yourself, good on you because while you were working and providing I was home taking care of my three kids.

    • Still cant understand your logic. Yep, I was out working, I assume your husband/partner was doing the same thing.

    • wasn’t it you in here whinging you had to much to get the pension? when Abbott cut wealthy pesioners? I am pretty sure it was you

    • What will happen IF Labor get in and have to get spending under control !! !!! . 80% of Tax from Taxpayers goes on Welfare . Not much left over to fund the rest of the necessities .

    • The ALP are not stupid enough to attack pensioners Dawn Bruce, they know we have long memories and well all still vote, ask any pensioner here have they forgotten the stress of the last 2 years when Abbott lied to get elected.. no cuts to pensions !!

    • Well said Wayne. Too many whingers on this site. Nothing makes them happy. Perhaps they might like living in a third world country and get nothing. Attitude is always glass half empty instead of glass half full. Third is pretty good considering countries like the UK and USA are obviously further down the list.

  5. how about bringing back the incentive to continue working past retirement age?? There, that’s an idea!!

    4 REPLY
    • I did! Till 69! Lost money in the GFC which appears to have left the tax avoiders even richer! I earned my pension!

    • The simple answer is that there is still a lot of (hidden) age discrimination out there amongst employers.

    • i’m talking about any work & paying taxes. i’m no where near ready to retire BUT are my employers going to find a reason to replace me!!! Age does matter not experience & life skills.

  6. It surprises me that we are ranked 3rd, I would have thought we would have been ranked lower than that. The government is making moves to raise the pension age but apparently not as fast as some countries. Very interesting read.

    2 REPLY
    • Not through any lack of will from them, the senate is blocking them, 70 is a ridiculous age for anyone who has done hard manual work, many are lucky to make it through to 60 years old before their bodies wear out

    • You don’t have to work until 70 it is just the age that you become eligible to claim a pension. Presumably your superannuation can carry you for the inbetween years between when you choose to retire and your 70th birthday if it rises from 67 which is the age Labor raised it to and the proposed 70 which the LNP is proposing.

  7. Australia is not a third world country, with what this country has, we pensioners should be living the life of Reilly, just been badly managed by those in Canberra, that’s all!!

    2 REPLY
    • The politicians certainly get big pensions. This should be stopped then they would want to give more help to pensioners.

  8. The liberals are of course now talking down the pension, prepare for it to be reduced as the foolish believe the rhetoric!

    1 REPLY
  9. SHAME , Country pensioners ( my friends ) don’t get free transport like Adelaide ones do .. $ 6 return bus to go from Loxton across the River to Berri 20 ks away

    1 REPLY
  10. What rubbish. We might be “rated” third but try as I might, after rent,power and food, it’s almost gone. And I am a “lucky” one. I have about a year’s worth of low income wage in super. I need to keep that in case of emergency. I also had one last tax cheque this year which is funding my first Christmas holiday on my own. So regardless of their findings, we do it tough. We are not whining or expecting too much. As I keep saying we need to stand together and fight for us.

  11. Do you know we have exactly the same problem here in NZ. We work all our lives to bring up, a family and have a decent quality of life but when you get on that pension it is scrimp and save time, and survival only for the rich.

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