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Family's despair after power bills increase by 400% due to law change

<p>When Lee and Warren Mullaly purchased their new home in Forster, NSW they were thrilled. Having pre-installed solar panelling would ensure that their electricity bill would remain low, and while that was the case for a period of time, this year, the semi-retired couple are paying over $400 each quarter.</p> <p>“The government incentive finished and even though we were aware this was going to happen, we still thought our bills were going to be significantly lower,” Lee Mullaly told <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/changes-to-solar-feedin-tariffs-have-caused-huge-increases-to-power-bills/news-story/a5bafadf063bcb2f99b0d739feac0296" target="_blank">News.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p>Without a battery, the Mullaly's only find their solar panels beneficial during the day as the power produced must be used immediately.</p> <p>And in the evenings when the panels are not generating electricity, any power they use during that period comes from the grid. With their bill previously coming in at $95 a quarter, they are now facing an increase of $1400 more than what they paid the year before.</p> <p>This is the consequence of the Solar Bonus Scheme that was initiated by the NSW Government, ending on 31 December 2016. With the scheme paying households 60c or 20c per kilowatt an hour for the electricity they provided to the grid, many families benefited greatly.</p> <p>Now, as the scheme has shut down, households have taken a hit, and with a battery costing $15,000 to install for the semi-retired couple, the Mullaly's believe that the outlay wouldn’t be worth it.</p> <p>“We’ve got to watch what we spend, we haven’t got a lot of money coming in and we’ve got to weigh up the benefits,” said Lee Mullally.</p> <p>The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) sets a recommended price for retailers, but it is not mandatory for retailers to follow. This year, the suggested benchmark dropped by 44 per cent due to below average wholesale electricity prices.</p> <p>Solar expert and ShineHub co-founder Alex Georgiou said this year’s changes to feed-in tariff rates could see families losing around $300 a year on a 5-kilowatt system.</p> <p>“If a person is not home to use solar power during the day, around 75 per cent of this is sent back to the grid,” he said.</p> <p>While an average household could have earned $657 a year selling power to the grid at a price of 12 cents, this year, that price would drop to $355 if they get 6.5 cents.</p> <p>When asked if she would consider a solar panelling system now, Mrs Mullaly said she would never do it without installing a battery first.</p> <p>“If you are thinking about getting panels you need to get a battery because ultimately it will be a huge saving and will take the worry away.”</p> <p>Do you have solar panelling on your home? Tell us in the comments below. </p>

Retirement Income

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$28 for instant coffee: The supermarkets ripping off Aussies

<p><span>The thought of paying $28 for a jar of coffee can be hard to imagine for many, but for those consumers living in remote areas of Australia, this inflated cost is a reality.</span></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-13/supermarkets-charging-remote-shoppers-nearly-double-city-prices/10107060" target="_blank">ABC News</a></em> launched an investigation on government-controlled supermarkets after it was said that people were paying up to $18 more for household items than those living in metro areas. The investigation compares the prices of products in Lockhart River in comparison to the same products in Brisbane.</p> <p>Products such as washing liquid had a difference of $10.80 compared to the price in Brisbane, and baby formula cost $9 more than the standard price.</p> <p>And it’s not just grocery prices that are inflated. Unleaded petrol in the region was priced at $1.93 per litre and $1.89 for diesel – also at a store run by the government.</p> <p>Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher believes shoppers in remote indigenous regions are being ripped off.</p> <p>“I’m angry because it’s very expensive and it just makes life so much harder,” he said.</p> <p>“It’s not like you have choices either; you can’t just go to Coles or Woolworths. It’s an extra burden on each household and it’s not something we need.”</p> <p>Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) is in charge of more than 20 of the remote stores across the state and is a statutory body of the Queensland Government.</p> <p>A spokesperson from the government said they subsidise “fresh fruit, milk, eggs, some baby products and core basket essentials to ensure prices are kept low".</p> <p>“It also assists communities to have access to ‘best buys’ and ‘specials’ and price matches with Coles, Cairns, on online products,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>“However, it must also be noted that there are still significant freight costs that have to be borne due to CEQ operating in very remote areas of the state.”</p> <p>A recent productivity commission review recommended the government to step away from assets such as retail stores, as they can ‘crowd out’ locals from business opportunities.</p> <p>In 2016, the government took over most of the remote supermarkets in Queensland.</p> <p>Mr Butcher has said they were promised a decrease in prices but instead, had to deal with prices increasing even further.</p> <p>“They said things would get better, but that’s a broken promise,” he said.</p> <p>“Because of the remoteness and lack of employment opportunities, they should consider more subsidies to make things affordable.”</p>

Retirement Income

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Family's outrage after dementia-stricken grandmother hit with $4000 energy bills

<p>A family has expressed their outrage after their grandmother was unwillingly signed up to an energy company and then hit with a $4000 bill.</p> <p>Joan Ford, 86, lives at the View Hills Manor nursing home in Melbourne, where her residency fee covers all utilities.</p> <p>Despite this, Joan received an electricity bill in June from 1st Energy that totalled $1,384, reported the <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/"><strong><em style="font-weight: inherit;">ABC</em></strong></a>.</p> <p>Joan’s daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Mark Matthys, were outraged by the letter, which claimed the energy was supplied in May to the unit at her nursing home.</p> <p>Mark said his mother-in-law was unable to recall what the bill was for.</p> <p>Speaking to ABC Radio Melbourne, Mark said: “How on earth would it even be possible to make up an account for a person who doesn't actually have anything to pay for?”</p> <p>The family contacted the energy provider and were told the error had been fixed.</p> <p>However, Joan then received a second bill for more than $2584, with the provider claiming the energy had been supplied between June and the beginning of July.</p> <p>The second bill was followed by two reminder notices and a phone call from a collection agency.</p> <p>Mark revealed that his mother-in-law had been targeted through a phone call, and that the incident had caused her a lot of stress.</p> <p>Victoria’s energy and water ombudsman, Cynthia Gebert, said she didn’t understand how the bill was calculated as nursing homes are generally not individually metered.</p> <p>She recommended that vulnerable people join the do-not-call register to avoid sales calls.</p> <p>The energy provider resolved the error and Joan was not required to pay the hefty amount.</p> <p>A spokeswoman from 1st Energy said the company had apologised for the incident, which was caused by an administration error.</p> <p>“Due to human error the matter was unfortunately not fully remedied when initially picked up. It has now been fully resolved,” she said.</p>

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Why grocery prices are set to soar

<p>As Australia faces a horror drought, farmers across the country have been forced to slaughter their animals or watch them die as they struggle to feed and water livestock.</p> <p>Currently, 98 per cent of NSW and almost two-thirds of Queensland is either in drought or drought affected, while parts of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have also been hit.</p> <p>Some farmers have labelled this drought as the worst they’ve ever seen, and experts are warning the rest of the country to brace for the impact of the drought on supermarket prices.</p> <p>Executive director of agriculture research firm Australian Farm Institute, Richard Heath, said while “every drought was different”, they drive up grocery bills at double the rate of inflation.</p> <p>“Every drought is different depending on what time of the year it starts and where it’s more severe, and that flows on to what food types might be affected,” he told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/"><strong><u>news.com.au</u></strong></a>.</p> <p>“Drought is not a new feature of Australian agriculture and generally what’s happened in the past is there has been in increase in grocery prices overall … generally the price has increased at about twice the rate of the consumer price inflation during equivalent periods of drought in the past.</p> <p>“But exactly what foods will be affected and the timing of that is really quite hard to determine until after the fact when we can go back and see how it’s translated into different foods.”</p> <p>Mr Heath predicted the availability of meat will increase before the shortage kicks in and pushes up prices.</p> <p>“In the early stages of drought the availability of meat products quite often increase with farmers offloading stock because they can’t feed them. So there might be a lot more on the market as the drought takes hold, but when the season recovers, farmers try to build up numbers again and potentially there could be less stock available for sale,” he explained.</p> <p>“Grocery prices are obviously the way that the community overall feels the impact of drought when it gets severe enough to impact the availability of food, but before that farmers are obviously the first and most severely affected.</p> <p>“The rural communities the farmers live in can also be severely affected because the income that farmers usually spend in the community just isn’t there. Retail and service industries in rural towns really suffer dramatically and they take a long time to recover, because the drought may break but it might be another six to 12 months before farmers start having decent incomes again.”</p> <p>National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) CEO, Tony Mahar, revealed that essential crops such as wheat, barley, oats and canola have also been impacted by the drought, along with livestock.</p> <p>“It’s pretty serious — some parts of Australia have been in drought for five, six, seven years so it has been really challenging for parts of the industry,” Mr Mahar told news.com.au.</p> <p>“Animals are stressed, farmers are stressed and families are stressed so it does have a large impact.</p> <p>“There has been a very reduced grain harvest this year. Australian farmers export around two-thirds of what they produce because it’s such a small market, so food security is not an issue.”</p> <p>Mr Mahar explained that if the grain shortage drives up the price of livestock feed, the price of meat will also increase.</p> <p>“Going forward next year, chances are feed prices are going to be more expensive for chicken, pork and beef producers who will have to pay more for their feed including barley, oats and wheat. Their input into their beef, pork and chicken products are going to get more expensive and ultimately, it could have a flow on to consumer prices,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Mahar said that any government and community support during this drought would be welcomed, as Australian farmers only receive a fraction of government subsidies compared to farmers in Europe, Asia and the US.</p> <p>“Farmers are a tough, resilient group and we’ll push through this … but at the end of the day, our farmers produce such amazing quality food and we need to support them through this time,” he said.</p>

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Take a first look: The new Special Buys range coming to Aldi stores this Saturday

<p>Aldi customers are generating buzz online after the German retailer announced the latest Special Buys range that will be appearing in stores this Saturday.</p> <p>The discount supermarket chain will be selling a budget laundry range, which will include a washing machine base unit for $59.99, a storage base unit for $79.99 and a $19 iron.</p> <p>One discount that is catching the eye of many Aldi fans is the 7.5kg front loader washing machine for $379.</p> <p>There will also be a discount 7kg dryer on sale for $399.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/media/7819954/1.jpg?width=0&amp;height=0" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b7b97e35839a4f8292161f823b4b2046" /><img style="width: 500px; height:298.10725552050474px;" src="/media/7819954/1.jpg?width=500&amp;height=298.10725552050474" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b7b97e35839a4f8292161f823b4b2046" /></p> <p>Aldi’s laundry range has been praised not only for its affordability, but also the trendy and modern look of the products.</p> <p>Shoppers can also purchase a $16.99 laundry trolley, a $19.99 drying rack and a retractable clothes line for $49.99 – to make household chores just a little bit easier.</p> <p>For those who are in need of an ironing board there will be one on sale for $39.99.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/media/7819955/2.jpg?width=0&amp;height=0" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/fec695fc1a4745a88c53d549c6ed8777" /><img style="width: 500px; height:249.74146845915203px;" src="/media/7819955/2.jpg?width=500&amp;height=249.74146845915203" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/fec695fc1a4745a88c53d549c6ed8777" /></p> <p>And for other customers who are looking to splurge, there will also be a steam station iron for $129, which takes just two minutes to heat up.</p> <p>This week, Aldi has come under fire from Aussie entrepreneur Dick Smith, who claimed the supermarket was sucking wealth from Australia.</p> <p>“When will enough be enough?” he wrote in a passionate <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/dick-smith-lashes-out-at-aldi-when-will-enough-be-enough"><strong><u>open letter.</u></strong></a></p> <p>“Will these goods, just like your peanut butter, come from countries like Argentina where wages are extremely low?</p> <p>“Won’t this mean our Australian farmers and food processors will never be able to compete with such low prices?</p> <p>“You are privately owned, so it is not possible for Australians to share in the wealth creation of your company, and you also don’t have the costs of publicly listing on the stock exchange which would result in the employment of many additional Australians.”</p> <p>Aldi Australia chief executive Tom Daunt responded to the letter, saying that the company employs more than 11,500 Australians and partners with more than 1000 Aussie suppliers.</p> <p>Are you excited about Aldi's new laundry range? Tell us in the comments below. </p>

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"A huge wake-up call": Big banks' $24,000 rip-off on credit card rewards

<p>If you have a credit card with any of the Big Four banks, you will get just $12 of value out of your rewards program if you spend $24,000 in a year. <br /><br />New analysis by financial comparison website Mozo shows the average net value of rewards credit cards offered by the major banks has fallen 96 per cent in the past two years, following the Reserve Bank’s interchange fee regulation. <br /><br />In 2016, a customer spending $24,000 a year received an average of $284 in rewards. But today, you would need to spend $60,000 to receive the same value. <br /><br />“If you spend less than that the figure’s going to be worse, if you spend more it’s not going to be so bad, so it really depends,” Mozo product data manager Peter Marshall said. <br /><br />“The main point is it’s more important than ever for people to know what value they’re getting out of their rewards versus how much they’re paying to keep that card, and reassess whether they’re getting the benefits that justify it.”</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/0e4cd915d0eb5d7b8e4afaadbe2f8317" alt="CommBank customers are now in the red. Picture: Mozo" width="650" height="488" /></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/99d8d6283559f46bf7f2de344b55d9fb" alt="Points earning has dramatically fallen. Picture: Mozo" width="650" height="488" /><br /><br />Mozo’s calculations were based on typical credit card spend of $2000 a month, per RBA data, with introductory bonus points and annual fee waiver offers excluded. The net value was derived from the rewards value minus the annual fee. <br /><br />Last year, the RBA introduced changes that reduced the fees banks could charge each other to process credit card transactions. As those fees were used to fund credit card rewards programs, the rewards program has suffered. <br /><br />“It was basically a nice profit margin that was built into the system for them,” Mr Marshall said. “That’s been capped so it’s reduced the income stream. We’ve seen a range of responses to that — there’s reduced points earning, lower caps on how much you can earn, but also higher annual fees on some cards.” <br /><br />Out of the Big Four banks, Commonwealth Bank cardholders were the worst off, with a customer on the typical spend now $58 in the red under the changes. Westpac customers were the winners with a net value of $48. <br /><br />“Our results are a huge wake-up call for cardholders to start questioning whether their rewards card is worth it after all,” Mozo director Kirsty Lamont said in a statement. <br /><br />“They are now having to spend two-and-a-half times more to earn the same amount of net rewards value they would have received two years ago on the typical annual spend. No longer a card exclusively for big spenders, [American Express] cards generally offer better value for the typical spender.”</p>

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Why the cost of bread is set to rise

<p>The cost of the humble loaf of bread is set to surge as the price of Australian wheat spikes.</p> <p>And whether you like white, multigrain, wholemeal or the fancier loaf varieties, it doesn’t matter as all bread prices are set to soar.</p> <p><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/bread-prices-set-to-surge-as-cost-of-australian-wheat-spikes/news-story/a8bacca23839f766d39a00b465a75597">The Daily Telegraph</a></span></strong></em><span> </span>report the prices of futures contracts for wheat on the east coast have increased 24 per cent over the past six months.</p> <p>A futures contract is a deal to buy or sell something at an agreed price at a future date, thereby serving as an indicator of where prices are going.</p> <p>Farmers are blaming a long spell of dry weather in wheat-growing land for the rise in prices.</p> <p>The winter season is also off to a poor start with analysts at National Australia Bank this week forecasting Australia’s wheat output from the winter crop to be “a shade under” 20 million tonnes.</p> <p>A month earlier, the bank was forecasting 21.3 million tonnes and the federal government last month predicated Aussie farmers would deliver a 21.9 million tonne haul.</p> <p>The difference between the forecasts might sound small but in a nation that eats a lot of bread, and exports a lot of wheat, even a small fall in output can make a big difference to the price.</p> <p>According to Roy Morgan research, 11 million Australians buy bread every week and Aussies spend more than $2 billion a year at chains such as Brumby’s and Bakers Delight, along with independent bakeries.</p>

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ACCC report reveals shocking tactics used by energy companies

<p>The government has been urged to stop a sneaky tactic used by energy providers that costs Australian households hundreds of dollars each year.</p> <p>The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken aim at electricity retailers who are disguising late payment fees as “discounts” to trick people into they’re getting a better deal.</p> <p>A report released today by the consumer watchdog slams the tactic whereby energy providers charge exorbitant late fees on bills under the guide of providing a discount for paying on time.</p> <p>As <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://campaigns.choice.com.au/late-fees/">Choice</a></span> </strong>reports, “these ‘discounts’ are actually sneaky late payment fees designed to punish people so they end up paying more than they should.”</p> <p><img width="374" height="575" src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/21a2249204af3a4a31011fa924a090e5" alt="It sounds like a good deal, until you get stung." style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></p> <p> </p> <p><img width="374" height="210" src="https://campaigns.choice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/energy-bill-late-fees.jpg" alt="Graphic illustration based on figures from an actual electricity bill." class="aligncenter wp-image-2029" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></p> <p>The ACCC argues that power prices had reached “unacceptable” level and outlined measures that would save an average household $409 a year.</p> <p>The damning review into the national energy market recommends a “reset” of the market and accuses energy companies of gouging customers with unnecessary and unfair costs.</p> <p>Through market manipulation and misleading practices by energy providers, the ACCC said Australians were losing “hundreds of dollars a year”.</p> <p>The report, commissioned by Treasurer Scott Morrison in March last year, outlines 56 recommendations that are needed to bring down prices and restore consumer confidence.</p> <p> Some of the recommendations of the report include:</p> <p>• The Australian Energy Regulator should be given more powers to target market manipulation</p> <p>• Discounts can often be misleading and need to be made fairer</p> <p>• Customers should be able to compare discounts from a default or benchmark rate set by the regulator</p> <p>• Special conditions like pay on time discounts should not operate like harsh late penalties</p> <p>• Customer transfer process should be sped up so customers can move to new offers quickly</p> <p>• Third-party comparator sites should declare commissions they receive</p> <p>• The introduction of default offers consistent across all retailers, set at a price determined by the Australian Energy Regulator</p> <p>Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg labelled the report as “an extremely comprehensive and important piece of work”.</p> <p>“There is good news for consumers out of these recommendations, which the ACCC has said will reset the market and drive power prices lower,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News this morning.</p> <p>“There are 56 recommendations and the Turnbull Government will carefully consider them and we will consult with the states because a number of the recommendations have an impact on state responsibilities,” he said.</p>

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The $600,000 government incentive for seniors to downsize

<p>From July 1, a new incentive for older Australians selling a family home has kicked in.</p> <p>The Federal Government is encouraging people aged 65 and over, who have lived in their home for at least 10 years, to downsize and put extra money into their superannuation funds.</p> <p>Older homeowners will be able to make a post-tax contribution to their superannuation fund of up to $300,000 for one person and $600,000 for a couple.</p> <p>These new contributions will be in addition to any other voluntary contributions people are able to make under the existing rules and concessional and non-concessional caps.</p> <p>The downsizer superannuation contributions scheme, announced in last year’s Federal Budget, wants to encourage older homeowners to downsize, which will free up homes for younger families.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">What you need to know</span></p> <ul> <li>Coming into effect July 1, 2018, the downsizer superannuation contributions scheme is available to homeowners aged 65 and over</li> <li>The property must have been held for at least 10 years and been the owner’s principal place of residence. However, the homeowner does not have to have lived in the home for all of those 10 years.</li> <li>Both the owner and their spouse can contribute, even if the spouse is not on the title of the property.</li> <li>Homeowners can only make one downsizer contribution per person</li> <li>A homeowner can contribute up to $300,000 – and a couple can contribute $600,000 – from the sale of their home into a superannuation fund.</li> <li>Downsizers have 90 days after their property settles to make the contribution.</li> <li>The contribution is not exempt from the Age Pension means test and may affect a government pension.</li> </ul> <p> </p>

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Sneaky tax grab threatens to destroy retirement dream of thousands of Australian seniors

<p>A new “greedy” tax on luxury vehicles, including motorhomes, is threatening to destroy the retirement dream of many Aussie grey nomads.</p> <p>In Queensland, the government’s two-per-cent levy could bump up the price of campervans by nearly $10,000.</p> <p>The Queensland government's tax will apply to vehicles that are worth more than $100,000 and weigh less than 4.5 tonnes – a category that most campervans fit into.</p> <p>Companies have spoken out against the tax as they believe it will deter many potential customers and force many retirees to walk away from their dream of affording a holiday vehicle.</p> <p>Pensioner Alan Dawes purchased his motorhome five years ago but said he wouldn’t have been able to make the same purchase in the 2018 market.</p> <p>“If I was buying this vehicle now, it would affect me by about $9,000. Which makes it out of reach for a lot of people,” Mr Dawes told <em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/06/25/18/47/two-percent-tax-on-luxury-cars-being-extended-to-motorhomes?ocid=Social-9NewsB" target="_blank">Nine News</a></span></strong></em>.</p> <p>Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington accused the government of a greedy tax grab on grey nomads.</p> <p>"They've paid their taxes and now, when they're in the prime of their life when they want to get out and enjoy this beautiful state, they're going to be slugged even more," she said.</p> <p>Some retailers are concerned they could lose out if they are forced to cover the tax on campervans they have already sold.</p> <p>"If I don't pass it on, which I can't ... it will cost myself and my partner $96,000," John Burke from Explorer Motorhomes explained.</p> <p>Caravanning groups are worried the tax could have a greater impact on tourism in country Queensland.</p> <p>"80% of tourism out there at this time of year is in caravans and motorhomes," the CEO of Caravanning Queensland, Ron Chapman, said.</p> <p>“If people can't buy them and keep going around Queensland, then we're in strife."</p> <p>The government said caravans and trailers will be exempt from the tax.</p> <p>"But if it is one of those luxurious vehicles then it might attract some duties," said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.</p> <p>What are your thoughts on this luxury vehicle tax? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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“Frustrating” pension process deterring seniors from applying to Centrelink

<p>The process of applying for the Age Pension is a fraught experience for many older Australians, according to a new joint study conducted by National Seniors Australia (NSA) and Retirement Essentials.</p> <p>Retirement Essentials founder and CEO Paul Rogan said the study revealed the scale of the problem for the first time.</p> <p>“Our study, conducted by National Seniors Australia, proves beyond doubt that the Age Pension application services is a deeply complex and frustrating experience for many,” he said.</p> <p>“This is an important document for senior Australians and public policy stakeholders. It shines a light on a vast problem which has been ‘hiding in plain sight’.”</p> <p>According to the report less than four in 10 senior Australians are satisfied with the application process for the Age Pension, while 88 per cent of the 4,500 respondents were dissatisfied with the Age Pension forms and processes.</p> <p>"I was surprised by how widespread this problem is. If the survey data is reflective of the whole community, then based on demographic trends over 153,000 Australian seniors each year are having a negative experience when applying for the pension," Rogan said.</p> <p>Rogan also added that many eligible people actually gave up on accessing their entitlements due to the frustrating process.</p> <p>“And when the purpose of the Age Pension is to be a safety net, we need to do more to assist seniors to navigate the complex process and support them,” he said.</p> <p>How do you find the process of applying for the Age Pension? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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Why you need to invest in yourself to retire well

<p>I have a particularly resourceful friend who lives a pretty good life, despite never having quite enough money.</p> <p>She is hardworking and popular with her wide circle of friends, neighbours and colleagues. She networks, barters and works for what she really wants.</p> <p>A former chef turned teacher, she finessed enough grant money to pay for a two-week trip to cooking school in Italy. She knows where all the good used furniture stores are, has bartered home cleaning for a two-week stay in a holiday home, and is working on an arrangement now that will get her free housing in France for several weeks this summer. Tres bien!</p> <p>I'm pretty sure my friend will do really well in retirement, though I strongly suspect she has nowhere near the $1-million plus that you would think her lifestyle would require. She has a different kind of capital: skills, smarts, and a great social network.</p> <p>"Everyone is focused on the money, but when somebody retires, they usually manage," said Larry Cohen, director of Consumer Financial Decisions, a consulting group that studies consumer behaviour. "If they don't have the money, they have human capital like skills and education, and social capital in terms of friends, neighbours or a church. All these things help."</p> <p>Cohen predicts: "The (retirement) solutions for the future are going to involve more of these other forms of capital."</p> <p>Experts are increasingly focusing on the non-financial assets that workers can bring into retirement to help them manage on fewer dollars than might be optimal.</p> <p>So what are the best non-financial forms of capital that pre-retirees can invest in now to insure a good retirement? Here are a few.</p> <p><strong>Investing knowledge</strong></p> <p>Nothing good can come of being uninformed about investing. The more you know, the more you can grow small contributions into a retirement kitty you can live off of. Break it into small bits and learn a little every month. Learning about stocks, taxes, portfolio management and the like will help you, at the very least, choose the right adviser. And it will also help you stretch your income after retirement.</p> <p><strong>Money-earning skill</strong></p> <p>The baby boom may well have psychological problems adjusting to the "withdrawal" era of their lives. It could be harder than you think to find money to see a movie or make a car payment. So develop something now that can earn money in the future. Some popular money-earning side business include TradeMe sales, handyman work, cooking, babysitting and driving.</p> <p><strong>Money-saving skills</strong></p> <p>Gardening, appliance repair, lawn mowing, scratch cooking, vacuuming ... got it? If you're the kind of person who currently pays others to do all of these things for you remember this: In retirement you'll have more time and less money.</p> <p><strong>Friends and neighbours</strong></p> <p>Can you drive each other to the airport? Share big bargain packages of toilet paper and tomatoes? Check in on each other when you haven't surfaced for a while? Does someone in the crowd make their own tomato sauce and another fix cars? Or own a beach house or a garden tiller? There's no end to the savings that a supportive collective like that can generate. And, of course, people who are connected to others enjoy life more and may be able to entertain themselves more cheaply.</p> <p><strong>Best body possible</strong></p> <p>The better shape you are in going into retirement, the less you'll spend on pain pills, back braces and more. Of course, you can't control everything that befalls you, but moving into retirement with strong bones and muscles, a good sense of balance, and cardiovascular fitness will improve your retirement fun and cut your retirement expenses.</p> <p><strong>Craftiness</strong></p> <p>Retirement can be like a second chance; the rules come off and you can do things you might not have considered while you were in your main buttoned-down job. Practice creativity now, just like my friend, and you'll be ahead of the game when your new job is making that smaller-than-you'd-hoped retirement fund last a long and happy time.</p> <p>Do you agree with this advice?</p> <p><em>Written by Linda Stern. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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How to really stretch a dollar

<p>Some 'rich' people appear extremely well off. They earn a lot of money, drive expensive cars and live in gorgeous houses. What you may not realise is that a large proportion of these people are living on credit, or relying on the astronomical incomes to continue indefinitely. Or both.</p> <p>When something goes wrong, the car goes back to the lease company. The house goes mortgagee. Their clothes are worthless, their luxuries reduced dramatically in value and all they really have left are photos and memories - and the urgent desire to go back to their old way of life.</p> <p>I have seen this happen so many times. Twice with families that have won first division Lotto. Within a handful of years they were broke again. Why? They take pride in how much they paid for things and in being able to afford whatever they like and let tomorrow worry about itself. </p> <p>The other kind of 'rich' person actually has money in the bank. They are less likely to drive sports cars or head overseas for holidays. But they own everything they have and continue to build on it.</p> <p>If something goes wrong, no-one is going to walk in and take the house. In fact, you will probably find they have a back-up plan to tide them over if need be. These people take pride in how hard they worked for their money and in how hard they made their money work for them. They are also very aware of where they want to be when tomorrow comes.</p> <p>Here are some tips to help you save.</p> <p><strong>1. Don't pay interest.</strong></p> <p>You are essentially paying (a lot) for the privilege of not waiting. If you can't afford to save up for something, you can't afford the repayments. As a bonus, your savings earn you interest. If you have no choice but to borrow, look for no interest deals, or shop around for the best rates and make paying the debt off you top priority.</p> <p>Penalty fees for late payment on bills does count as interest, as does interest on overdrafts (get rid of them) and credit cards (if you can't pay the entire balance every month reduce the credit limit to what you can pay or cut it up).</p> <p><strong>2. Investment or expense?</strong></p> <p>Whatever you are buying, consider whether it is an investment or an expense. Consider cost vs usage, quality, warranty value, running costs. Paying 20 per cent more for something that lasts twice as long is an investment. Paying more for a pretty colour is not.</p> <p>Paying $100 for a quality outfit you will wear every week is more of an investment that $30 for something you will wear twice. When considering a freezer I compared cost and running expenses with savings from bulk buying and resale value. This helped us decide what we were prepared to spend, and whether it was an investment.</p> <p>Don't assume that just because something is branded or expensive it is well made. Likewise with things that are cheap. Observe and research.</p> <p><strong>3. Shop around.</strong></p> <p>Compare prices, brands, quality. I essentially got a free bottle of milk each week by going to one local dairy instead of the other. Loose carrots are usually cheaper than bagged. Meat in bulk from the butcher and fruit from the markets cut a third off my weekly food bills. It all adds up. Assume nothing, and do the math yourself.</p> <p><strong>4. Waste not want not, as Gran always said.</strong></p> <p>Known these days as Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Do you need to buy something new? Look at buying second hand, or even better, re-purposing or fixing something you already have.</p> <p>Recovering an old lounge suite is cheaper than buying a new one, and will probably last a lot longer for being better made in the first place. Most of our furniture is second hand, or off the road side. Fixed up, no-one can ever tell - even people who used to own it.</p> <p>Trade kids clothes with friends. Make your scraps into compost and grow veges, or pinch cuttings to grow for your own garden. Replace the buttons that make your jacket look dated. Reuse wrapping and ribbons and make old greeting cards into new ones. Throw leftovers in the freezer for quick and easy meals.</p> <p>Most important and easiest of all - look after what you do have. The actual multimillionaires I know do these things, and yet most of my 'broke' friends seem embarrassed to.</p> <p><strong>5. Alternative methods of acquirement.</strong></p> <p>Ask for something (or money towards it) for birthdays and Christmas. Whether it's a fancy beauty cream, new tool, whatever. When we were kids Santa would often pop new lunchboxes and stationary for the coming year into our stockings. Santa was still cool. Vouchers (even home made ones) for outings the kids have been begging for also make great gifts or rewards, and kill two birds with one stone.</p> <p><strong>6. Buy your own house.</strong></p> <p>Accommodation takes the largest portion of your weekly income, and when it's paid to rent you get no return on that money at all. Save up as much as you can for the deposit, and choose carefully. It is the biggest investment you'll ever make, but don't expect the first house you buy to be the one you spend the rest of your life in. View it more as a stepping stone, with the long term resale uppermost in your mind.</p> <p>You can insulate, change the interior decor and landscaping, or possibly renovate to increase value. You can't change the area it's in (or local plans for that area), the local schools or environment, or where the sun rises and sets. Look harder at the area than the house, but ensure the house is solid and sunny. The costs of renting far outweigh the interest costs when the resale value is taken into account, and the long term security is priceless.</p> <p>Essentially, stop worrying about what everyone else has just bought and take the long term view on life. There are hundreds of ways to stretch a dollar, most of them without any compromise to your current lifestyle. It doesn't matter how much money you have at the moment, start to take pride in making your money work for you and it will grow.</p> <p>Anyone can do it, I know a lot of people who have.</p> <p>Do you have any money saving tips you’d like to share?</p> <p><em>Written by Marie Barclay. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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5 questions to ask before moving into a granny flat

<p>If managed correctly, a granny flat arrangement can turn into a win-win scenario for all parties. It can also turn sour fast. If you’ve toyed with the idea of entering into this sort of arrangement, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the implications.</p> <p>Here are five questions to ask before moving into a granny flat.</p> <p><strong>1. Am I really ready to live in a granny flat?</strong></p> <p>While often in these situations you still have plenty of your own personal space, there is going to be a loss of independence to a degree. It’s important to ask yourself if you are really willing to give up this space when moving in with your family.</p> <p><strong>2. Is my family really ready to live with me?</strong></p> <p>It’s not pleasant thing to think about, but the harsh reality is there may be some parties who are not altogether pleased with the situation (even if it seems like they are on the surface). It’s always worth having a frank discussion with all the parties that are affected, and asking them if this is arrangement is indeed willing to go into. </p> <p><strong>3. Is my pension going to be affected?</strong></p> <p>Depending on the arrangement you enter into, moving into a granny flat can affect your pension entitlements. It’s important to check with the Department of Human Services<a href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/" target="_blank"></a> and a financial professional about the ramifications of making this move, and ultimately whether or not you’re willing to live with them.</p> <p><strong>4. Have I formalised the agreement?</strong></p> <p>This may seem like adding unnecessary red tape to the arrangement (especially when you’re dealing with family), but formalising the agreement can go some way to avoiding conflicting. Getting the rights and responsibilities of each party down on paper is the best way to manage expectations and ensure no one is given the short end of the stick.</p> <p><strong>5. Do I have a backup plan?</strong></p> <p>If things do go awry you don’t want to be left high and dry. It’s important to have a backup plan up your sleeve just in case the worst does happen, and you can be sure you’re in the best position possible to recoup and ultimately recover.  </p> <p>Have you moved into a granny flat? Or perhaps you know someone who has? What do you think about the arrangement? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Income

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Daughter takes 85-year-old father’s life savings: "I never dreamt that she would do it"

<p>When Ray Thomson lost his life savings, he also lost the daughter he thought loved him the most.</p> <p>"I was led to believe she was doing everything for me. She was alright but she was doing everything for herself - with my money," he says.</p> <p>Over two years, Thomson's daughter Helen Williams robbed her father of everything he had, cleaning $320,000 out of his bank account, leaving him with just $20. </p> <p>The blind man now lives in a rest home, in a single, sparsely decorated room, a transistor radio among his meagre possessions.</p> <p>In January, Williams was sentenced to 12 months' home detention for her deceit, a crime she says was motivated by a gambling and drug addiction.</p> <p>Thomson can't talk about what his daughter did without breaking down. She was going to get half his money when he died but she couldn't wait, Thomson says - her "plain greed" got in the way.</p> <p>"I never dreamt that she would do it. I was completely taken in by it and by the time I had woken up to what happened, it was too late.</p> <p>"As far as I am concerned she's not my daughter."</p> <p>The first inkling Thomson got of there being a problem was when the council got in touch about his rates account being in arrears.  </p> <p>He remembers being taken by surprise. "I've never owed anyone in my lifetime," he says. </p> <p>When he checked with his daughter, he says she reassured him there had been a mistake, that there was nothing to worry about.</p> <p>As power of attorney, she was able to withdraw money from his account at will and while she spent it paying back her own debt, grocery bills and on a trip, her father went without. On one occasion Thomson had no hot water for six weeks as his unpaid bills mounted up.</p> <p><strong>'She cut me off'</strong></p> <p>During the time she stole from him, his daughter was a constant presence in Thomson's life. She made sure she was often the only person he would see for days.  </p> <p>"Every time she was at my place - she'd be there most times - she told everyone that I was not there. She cut me off from anyone that I knew," he says.</p> <p>Williams went to extraordinary lengths to keep her father in the dark about what she had been doing, reassuring him constantly and even intercepting the mail. </p> <p>But when the money ran out, Thomson's lawyer turned up with the news he had just $20 to his name.</p> <p>His life suddenly revealed to be in tatters, Thomson was forced to sell his house and move into a rest home. </p> <p>"I still think back on the episode and about what's happened but I will never forgive her for what she's done to me."</p> <p>He says people who prey on the elderly "should be disgusted with themselves." </p> <p>Thomson says even if family are involved in helping out, his advice to others is to be wary and ask questions if something is amiss.</p> <p>"Be cautious, be on the alert."<br /> <br /> "You don't expect those sorts of things to come from your own family."</p> <p>Have you ever encountered something like this?</p> <p><em>Written by Deena Coster. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Do you really need funeral insurance?

<p><em><strong>Sandra van der Laan is a Professor of Accounting at the University of Sydney and Lee Moerman is an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong.</strong></em></p> <p>TV advertisements for funeral insurance often warn of the huge financial impost created for families when you die. They argue the only way to protect your loved ones is to take out insurance. However, what these ads don’t tell you is that funeral insurance is a financial product and not really any different from life insurance, except the cover is usually for a much lower amount.</p> <p>This means the benefit paid upon your death is a cash amount, without any restrictions on whether it is used for your funeral or not.</p> <p>Despite more consumer-friendly funeral insurance products entering the market in recent years, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.realinsurance.com.au/lp/funeral?ppc=1&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw75HWBRAwEiwAdzefxJykxp-xaqpDvcSlqEuuQ2RMvr021ByAf-U7Rr93qdd8XrMh4PKpSxoC1HQQAvD_BwE&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds" target="_blank">most policies have stepped premiums</a></strong></span> which increase as you get older. Funeral insurance sellers are also still engaged in aggressive selling techniques, such as offering a gift card for buying a policy.</p> <p>These fundamental problems <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-454-funeral-insurance-a-snapshot/" target="_blank">lead to high policy lapse rates</a></strong></span>. That is, consumers take out a policy and then cancel or the policy is cancelled by the insurer for non-payment of premiums. While this is not unusual, the very high lapse rates make selling funeral insurance very lucrative for insurance companies.</p> <p>In 2014 the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-454-funeral-insurance-a-snapshot/" target="_blank">reported</a></strong></span> there were nearly three quarters of a million Australians covered by funeral insurance with an average benefit amount of A$8,859. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://sydney.edu.au/business/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/310140/Its_Your_Funeral_Report.pdf" target="_blank">Given the findings of a 2017 report</a></strong></span> suggesting average cost of a moderate “full service” funeral is around A$6,000, it appears many Australians are over-insuring.</p> <p><strong>Expensive premiums</strong></p> <p>Since most funeral insurance is sold with stepped premiums, many consumers on fixed incomes (pensioners and retirees) find the premiums difficult to service as they increase over the longer term. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.cpsa.org.au/files/The%20%24140000%20funeral%20pitfalls%20of%20funeral%20insurance%20March%202011.pdf" target="_blank">A study by the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association in 2011</a></strong></span> found that if you took out a policy at 50, you could end up paying more than A$140,000 in premiums for a A$6,000 benefit under some policies if you lived until you were 80.</p> <p>The average annual premiums quadruples for consumers aged over 50, rising from A$336 for those aged 50–54 to A$1,344 for those aged 80–84, the 2014 ASIC report found. With ever <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/contents/life-expectancy" target="_blank">increasing life expectancies</a></strong></span>, you can be sure that for most funeral insurance premiums people will likely end up paying many times more than any benefit paid.</p> <p>A staggering 80% of policies are <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-454-funeral-insurance-a-snapshot/" target="_blank">cancelled each year</a></strong></span>, 55% occurring within the first year. This is because many consumers do not understand important policy features and are concerned about their purchase after a period of time, having reflected on the details and benefits of the policy.</p> <p><strong>Paying for your funeral</strong></p> <p>Paying for a funeral can be a financial hardship and there are options to pay for it.</p> <p>One option is a direct committal that takes care of only the disposal and documentation requirements required for a funeral. Many funeral directors and online providers offer this budget option <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://sydney.edu.au/business/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/310140/Its_Your_Funeral_Report.pdf" target="_blank">for as little as A$1,200</a></strong></span>, but more likely around A$1,800 in a large city such as Sydney or Melbourne.</p> <p>You can then entrust your relatives, or your executor (if this is indicated in your will), to celebrate your life in any way you wish, a memorial without the expense.</p> <p>You could also buy a pre-need or prepaid funeral. This product is rigorously <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Consumers/Buying_services/Funerals/Contributory_and_pre_paid_funerals.pagelink%20to%20example%20of%20regulations" target="_blank">regulated by state consumer laws.</a></strong></span> It gives you some control as you know exactly what you are buying (such as ceremony, coffin, disposal). The only downfall is that your funeral is “locked-in” to a particular provider and <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/other-industries/australias-1-billion-funeral-industry-taking-advantage-of-people-at-their-most-vulnerable/news-story/2abcfe8f664377a35fe29ea292c98ed1" target="_blank">stories of aggressive upselling to relatives</a></strong></span> have been reported.</p> <p>In Australia, your loved ones or executor are able to access your funds in your bank or even superannuation accounts to pay for a funeral. If you are on a government benefit, your partner may receive a bereavement payment to contribute toward funeral expenses. Many funeral operators will also allow your relatives to pay for your funeral by instalments.</p> <p>Funeral bonds <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/over-55s/paying-for-your-funeral" target="_blank">are also financial products</a></strong></span> and depending on the amount you invest in bonds, you are likely to limit any financial legacy resulting from your funeral for relatives and loved ones. However, funeral bonds also carry the same risks as other bonds.</p> <p>Funeral insurance providers attempt to sell peace of mind to consumers. However, that peace of mind can become a financial burden as you age and premiums increase. It also may not even be used for that send off that you had imagined.</p> <p>Do you have funeral insurance? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Written by Sandra van der Laan and Lee Moerman. Republished with permission of <a href="http://theconversation.com/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Conversation</span></strong></a>.</em><img width="1" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/94406/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation"/></p>

Retirement Income

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Wife’s battle over bungled $200K life insurance: “I won, my husband lost”

<p>Cheryl Sayers was caught in an unimaginable battle when AMP incorrectly cancelled her husband Lee’s life insurance just months before he died of a terminal illness.</p> <p>The couple’s final months together were tainted by AMP’s unforgiveable failure and so Cheryl fought to hold the insurance giant accountable.</p> <p>“I didn't honestly believe that anyone could beat an insurance company,” Cheryl told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>The Sydney mother-of-three forfeited a $78,000 non-disclosure payout to share her story, in the hope of helping other Australians who have been wronged in the same way.</p> <p>“I was not going to let them shut me up,” she said.</p> <p>“There are a lot more people out there that this has happened to."</p> <p>In 2011, AMP cancelled Lee’s life insurance policy without warning, falsely claiming he had insufficient funds to pay for it.</p> <p>According to Cheryl, her late husband had “never missed a payment” and had paid close to $80,000 in premiums.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img width="497" height="280" src="/media/7818791/2_497x280.jpg" alt="2 (84)"/></p> <p>If the policy had been in place, the couple would have received the $200,000 payout when Lee was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, eight months before he passed away.</p> <p>The couple had dreamed of using the money to go on a Europe river cruise but were forced to work right up until Lee’s death, while also trying to fight AMP’s incorrect policy cancellation.</p> <p>“That policy would have allowed Lee to retire, to spend quality time with his children and myself,” Cheryl said.</p> <p>“You’re at a loss. You've lost your husband and you look like you're going to lose your home and you're at a loss what to do.”</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>But Cheryl chose to represent herself and fought AMP and their high-paid lawyers.</p> <p>In 2014, her persistence paid off when the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal ruled in her favour.</p> <p>“I had won, but my husband had lost,” Cheryl said. </p> <p>AMP agreed to pay Cheryl the $200,000 payout. She estimates that she was also owed around $80,000 in interest and costs but AMP said they would only pay the funds if she signed a non-disclosure agreement. </p>

Retirement Income

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“Please deport my son”: Parents beg government for help after son stole life savings

<p>Tearful parents have pleaded with the Australian government to deport their son after he stole their credit cards and racked up $47,000 of debt in their name.</p> <p>Speaking to <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="https://www.9now.com.au/a-current-affair/2018/extras/latest/180529/deport-my-son?ocid=Social-9ACA" target="_blank">A Current Affair</a></strong></em></span>, Jill and Tony Lewis said they don’t want to see their son Russell ever again after broke into their home, stole their credit card information and took all their money.</p> <p>“Please deport my son, because I've had enough… I never want to see him again,” Mr Lewis said on the program.</p> <p>Ms Lewis broke down as she recalled the moment five years ago the couple realised their own son had left them penniless. He had spent their life savings on televisions, a four-wheeler and a portable air conditioning unit and more.</p> <p>“Please deport Russell because I don't want to see him again.”</p> <p>Tony and Jill, who moved to Australia from England in 1985 with their 10-year-old-son Russell, said they expected to be retired by now.</p> <p>Instead they were forced to sell their home and business. They’re now borrowing money to pay their rent while looking after Russell's six-year-old daughter. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FACurrentAffair9%2Fvideos%2F1557544647685240%2F&amp;show_text=1&amp;width=560" width="560" height="470" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>Russell has been convicted for fraud and was sentenced to 3.5 years' jail in Sydney's Long Bay. He will remain behind bars until 2020.</p> <p>The couple told A Current Affair in 2013 they were headed back to the UK for a holiday and had informed the Commonwealth Bank their accounts would remain idle.</p> <p>Before they had even reached the UK, the pair said Russell broken into and robbed their home.</p> <p>The couple, however, did not know they had been robbed by their son until they came back from their holiday and a bank teller alerted them.</p> <p> </p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p>

Retirement Income

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The wasteful ways Aussies are spending more on electricity – are you guilty?

<p>A new analysis has found the shocking ways Aussies are wastefully heating their homes and significantly increasing their annual energy bills.</p> <p>The analysis by financial comparison website Mozo found one in 10 Aussies are leaving their heaters on when they go out, so they can keep their pets warm. This practice is costing them roughly $263 per year.</p> <p>It was also found that one in 10 Aussies waste $105 a year on heating their rooms to a temperature where they can wear less clothing, such as T-shirts.</p> <p>One in four people are also using their tumble dryer on sunny days, which is costing them $62 annually.</p> <p>In an interview with the <a href="http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/australians-are-letting-money-go-down-the-drain-by-wasting-electricity-in-ridiculous-ways/news-story/500c41a118870173948ab8027917033c" target="_blank"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Herald Sun</span></em></strong></a>, Mozo spokeswoman Kirsty Lamont said people need to rethink the ways that they are heating their homes during the colder months.</p> <p>“A lot of Aussies are indulging in heating habits that are costing us big time,’’ she said.</p> <p>“At the end of the day putting on a jumper instead of boosting up your thermostat is going to be a lot cheaper or using grandma’s door snake.”</p> <p>The analysis found that one in two people admitted to having longer hot showers in winter, costing them an extra $81 a year.</p> <p>Origin spokesman Stuart Osbourne advised Aussies to instead use cost-effective strategies to warm up in winter.</p> <p>“Review the temperature you set your thermostat at for heating — the ideal temperature for winter is between 18 and 20 degrees — every degree above that uses 10 per cent more energy,’’ he said.</p> <p>“Heated throw rugs are a cheap and effective way to cool yourself first — rather than heating the entire room.”</p> <p>What are your cost-effective ways for staying warm in winter? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

Retirement Income