Help…my mum said she is looking forward to the pension

I was talking to my mum about her work situation the other day and she was complaining about how she’s

I was talking to my mum about her work situation the other day and she was complaining about how she’s sick of being told what to do. When I told her to just be happy she has a job at 64, she said, “Well, I can’t wait until I am on the pension, then I won’t have to deal with any crap”. I was shocked… does my mum really think the age pension is enough?

Right now, she is earning quite a bit more than the pension, yet she wants to be on it. I said, “I hope you realise the pension isn’t very much at all” and she rubbished my claims saying it was more than enough and she was looking forward to the day she could cash her cheques.

Having the knowledge of 60-year-olds that I do, and knowing the struggles of the age pension, I was confused. Is this really a mindset others have? That the pension is better than working? If you don’t have a choice to be on the pension, that’s another matter, but to not fully realise what comes next or even prepare to be on the pension is absurd to me. Would you agree?

At this point, the maximum age pension rate for a single is $873.90 a fortnight, which includes the pension supplement and energy supplement. That’s roughly $430 a week, i.e. below minimum wage and below the bread line. But my mum still says that’s heaps and she won’t complain. I don’t think she realises what she’s in for.

When we’ve asked readers about the pension in the past, many pensioners say they can’t afford many things they could years ago. They now can’t travel, and they certainly can’t afford luxuries. My mother lives in government housing and she has no super – it can be difficult to watch this happen but I want her to plan more while she still can work, i.e. build up savings so she can live comfortably when the day comes.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about the pension and whether you think it’s exciting. Is the reality worse than it seems? Or better?

  1. Lesley  

    I am in the same boat as your mum. I work hard under stressful circumstances and when I go on the pension it will only be a $100 less than my take home pay now. I work in a call centre and the wages are abysmal.Yes I’m lucky to have a job but putting up with the customer abuse isn’t worth the $100 a week

    • Marie  

      Pain was a big incentive for me to retire. My job was physically demanding and I had a lot of pain.
      I also had to put up with terrible behaviour from some work mates and bosses.

  2. June  

    I only earn $500 a week so it wouldn’t be very different for me

    • Denise  

      Same as me June. $100 a week to put up with 23 year old know alls telling you what to do swearing at you then there is the lovely public. Enough said

    • Denise  

      Same as me June. $100 a week to put up with 23 year old know alls telling you what to do swearing at you then there is the lovely public. Enough said

  3. Cheryll  

    I live on the disability pension because of my knees and I need surgery after my divorce I basically lost everything now I have no savings no house and had to use what little super I had to move and pay bond and rent I can a sure you there is nothing left over for anything. So if I could got back to work at 62 years of age I would go and save every penny I could. Your mother is very lucky she has a job and it will be a shock to her when she does retire I know it sounds great no more bosses no more rude customers, but also no pay cheque thinking it will be spending days with friends thsts great in the beginning but will not want you at their door very day and days in the garden well thats not every day the days get lonely in time the novelty soon wears off just me on that.

  4. It would seem that the country can’t afford the standard of living we desire. That is a shame as people have worked so hard. I guess the only thing we can do is to modify our life styles. On a brighter note the Aussie pension is more that double the average income for the world as a whole and is $100 per week higher than the Kiwi government superannuation across the Tasman and they seem to manage ok.

  5. I have substitute my new start by casual work since losing my job at 60 I couldn’t wait to get my pension get more and can earn more. I intend to keep working even if its only a couple of days a week it gets me out keeps me active physically and mentally Im a childcare worker and even thou it can be very challanging its rewarding.

    • Jacqui Harris  

      I worked in age care and got very sick for 6 months, a skin infection attacked my immune system and all medication was allergic to, as I was casual nothing I could do. Had to go on new start which has been hard but lucky I have just found some casual work in disabilities, which will help as I still have teenage son at home in first year UNI and 2 other children at Uni, 1 needing help.I will never be rich and that doesn’t bother me, don’t drink or smoke so that helps, yes I do have an addiction bridge, so extra work will help pay bills, keep me entertained and help 2 of the children through UNI, the other is independent working and doing honours.
      I have 25 years in administration/account but when turned 50 and having 3 young children no one would give me a job so did TAFE Aged Care and Home care. I started full time work at 14 so really it is my right to retire I have paid my passage.

    • Good for you. At 68 I have received a part pension since reaching retirement age. Continued to work full time. As the job became more stressful I cut back my days and then hours. Income streamed what super I had accumulated, are still accumulating super which I will collect when I finally retire. So I get a very small pension, a payment from my super investment and what I earn at work a fortnight. If people get sound advice and don’t have to many expectations it all works out.

  6. Kaz  

    Ask your mum to live on that amount now. For six months bank the difference and don’t touch it

    • Viv Donovan  

      Great idea. I am on the Aged Pension and was on the Disability Pension before. I am single and own my own little 1 bedroom unit which I paid for from my Superannuation and long service money. I have had no handouts or any inheritance money to help me and I have never been married. My health is really bad and I am in and out of hospital on a regular basis. I had to give up driving my car as I could not afford to put petrol in it and pay for the extra expenses it costs to keep it on the road. I only buy healthy food, nothing processed and shop only for the specials. Just about everything in my home is Generic brand and if I have too many bills in the fortnight and I have not managed to put the money away for it, the cost comes out of my food allowance, so some weeks I am living on home made soup. I am trying to live fortnight to fortnight and desperately trying to put a little bit away for a holiday each pay after putting away bills money. If I stay at home I can save, but my treat is a cup of coffee with friends each day. I don’t drink or gamble and have finally saved enough for a cheap holiday after saving for 5 years. Yes you can do it, but be prepared to give up buying lots of clothes, presents for loved ones and going out for entertainment. I worked 3 jobs at a time before my health deteriorated so paid my Taxes to gain the Pension, but I would rather be still working just to enjoy life a bit more before I die.

  7. M. Backford  

    Owning your home is the trick to living on the pension, and having a realistic life style.

    • I agree. My husband wanted us to rent a housing trust home when we got married but I didn’t. He is now so very grateful he listened to me. It was very hard at times to pay the mortgage and raise three children but very worth it in the end. We now have the retirement we deserve thanks to owning our own home.

  8. Chris  

    it sounds to me that your Mum needs to be out of the stressful work situation she is in and is prepared to accept less money to be out of it.

  9. Elizabeth  

    Does your mum have no superannuation? I retired aged 66 and got a payout plus I had some super. Its still not enough! and I work occasionally. But I understand her feelings as work conditions can be so restrictive these days. Idoubt the pension alone will be enough for her, unless she sells her house, presuming she has one, and uses the capital to downsize and have a nest egg/super.

  10. I worked until 70. Retired in November 2015. I top up pension with super payment once a month. I believe it would be tough to survive on pension payments without super.

  11. Barb mustert  

    I earned good money and now get less than half of what I earned, but the house is paid for and we manage comfortably, no amount of stress is worth living with. I only have a very small super. So no we’re not well off but we manage easily. Also consider how relaxed you live not having to work, money saved on travel to work, union fees, tax. It’s not that bad.

    • jacqueline tautau  

      i am on the bones of my ass,,,do not buy food only may be 3 week’s or so,,,it is so hard,,and paying rent,,just got to stay put,,,can not go out very much,,as need gas to run your car ect,,not fair,,,,

    • I miss my work so much but whilst I was there I put as much in as I could into salary sacrifice. I was getting a very small pension and I didn’t get many hours and my supervisor cut my hours from 22 to 10 a fortnight. I own my own house. I am reasonably careful but not lousy and I pay health insurance, rates etc. You can get by because you save more on medications with the health care card and I find that’s a wonderful help. I don’t eat out much but enjoy cooking and the most expensive thing I have is my pet…but he’s certainly worth it …he’;s my entertainment. There are times when I’d love a part time job but exercise and voluntary work keeps me busy.

  12. Gillian  

    It costs money to work too – transport, clothing etc. She might not lose as much as you think. Her living costs will go down when she’s not working. Once she’s retired and relaxed for a while, she might feel that she wants to work part time, or earn money through crafts or things she loves to do. I think, if she’s looking forward to retiring, don’t worry about it. It’s her choice and if she’s worked for years maybe she needs to retire. Good on her.
    Conversely though, I’ve found with my own old folk that health care goes up significantly later on – glasses, hearing aids, eye operations, doctors visits, chiropodists etc so if she can save a few dollars each week, that would be a good thing.

    • Yvonne  

      She will get sick if she continues to work stree is a killer try living on the same amou t of money for trial period is a good idea you dont soend as much money on clothes etc i live a good life but i do have super and savings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *