Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I was NEVER promised a pension

Since I was 17 I've heard the familiar refrain "there'll be no pension when you're 65" albeit mostly by life insurance / superannuation salesmen.

About the only good thing that the last Labor government did was increase the pension age to 67 - that kicks in around 2023. I miss it by about 6 months. But here's the thing:

I was never promised an age pension.

Now, my parents generation was different. As income tax was becoming a bigger thing it was sold on the basis of "pay your income tax nouns other people's income tax will cover you in your old age". A tribute to how oblivious the governments of the day were to the population bubble of the baby boom. Or how far off the crunch seemed. Or how shameless they were in selling a lie (never mind, they did the same with a GST that was meant to replace ten other taxes, only about four of which have been removed). But still, my dad was promised an age pension as payback for income tax. And here's the thing:

People of my parents era will not be hit by the increasing pension age.

Remember, I'm only just getting clipped by the first steps to increase the pension age. I was born in 1967. I was never promised a pension.

So, if you're approaching 60 and worried about getting screwed by the government then what's new? We're all getting screwed in some way. But the systematic removal of the age pension will not hurt you. Shit, the way it's going I might still get some crumbs of the age pension. I doubt it. I've missed almost every government funded benefit in my life.

But the common sense of this is simple. I can't find the exact figures but they're something like this: 1977 there were 1.2 pensioners per employee, today 2.5 pensioners per employee, 2050 will have over five pensioners per employee. This is not a point of resentment, just one of reality. We'll be living longer, and using more and more expensive drugs and medical facilities. I apologise in advance - I'll be 83 if I hang on.

The most sensible thing that this government can do is make preparations to phase out the age pension. Everyone over 50 should get everything they were promised - they deserve a pension.

Those of us under 50 have been warned since we started working that things would be different for us when our working life ended.

There will be huge inequities and unfairnesses - people who never got super guarantee payments (such as stay at home parents or self employed) and that needs to be dealt with. In some way government funded age payments must continue. But in a general sense the structures have been in place for a long time - to phase out the pension and replace it with employer funded superannuation. This government won't phase out the pension without taking it to an election first.

Then the challenge will be to get the Australian electorate to think logically about it. But if you're over 50 the pattern is set. You'll get the pension you were promised.

I'm looking to the phase before that, where there will be a shortage of people to work. Impossible to imagine maybe, but I expect that the crunch will start to hit about 2019. It'll be the first time the employment market will have treated me with anything more than casual contempt. I suppose then the employers will be treating me with active resentment.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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