Retirement Income

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3 ways to splurge wisely

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The key to responsible money management seems simple – spend less than you earn. However, constant scrimping and saving can be a source of burnout and frustration. Enjoying the finer things in life – such as the occasional dinner out or a holiday trip – does not have to mean putting your budget in the red. Here are the three principles you should consider when you want to splurge.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Spend on what matters</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are some of the best purchases you’ve made recently? Chances are if you remember them, they could be considered a good splurge. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What makes a good buy is different to each person. If looking your best is important to you, spending more on salon-brand shampoo or designer clothing might be worth it. For cooking enthusiasts, it might not be a bad idea to fork out extra cash to invest in premium kitchen tools and fresh produce. Apart from personal priorities, you can also consider how often you will be able to enjoy the splurge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even if it might seem superfluous to onlookers, if the spending brings value to you, go for it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the other hand, spend as little as you can on things that you need but do not care for. Again, this varies depending on your preferences. Look at your spending and decide which expenses you would be willing to shell out more funds on and which ones to go budget for, be it toilet paper, beauty products, pet food, entertainment or others.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Set aside to spend</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With big spending, often comes a concern that it will put a dent in your wallet. But a splurge does not have to be completely impulsive and reckless – by planning it ahead, you can keep your finances under control. Set aside some of your income and/or savings as a designated fund for frivolous indulgences. When considering how much to budget, take into account your general expenses and goal savings to find out how much you can spend on the “fun” part.</span></p> <p><strong>3. When in doubt, wait it out</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ever have the urge to grab some coffee and pastry when you’re passing by your local café? This impulsive spending that you decide in the heat of the moment might seem small, but it can easily add up. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, consider your priorities and sit on any desire to splurge for at least a few days. This will improve your ability to identify fleeting whims, and give you more time to make sure that the potential expense will fit your budget.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you have any tips on how to splurge wisely? Let us know in the comments below. </span></p>

Retirement Income

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3 ways to make the most of your spare change

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You might have a collection of loose change somewhere in your home, be it in a jar, a piggy bank or just lying around the table somewhere. Every coin you save counts, but they can indeed be a hassle to bring in your wallet. Here are a few things you can do with your spare change.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Organise them</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make using up the coins easier by organising them for different expenses – laundry, morning coffee, vending machines, bus fares and more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Keep in mind the common courtesy – do not use an excessive amount of coins to pay. Apart from holding up the line in stores, it may also be illegal. The Currency Act 1965 (section 16) prohibits the use of Australian coins to pay if they:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">exceed $5 of any combination of 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent coins. For example, you may use 100 single 5 cent pieces in a transaction.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">exceed 10 times the face value of the coin if $1 or $2 coins are offered. For example, you can only use 10 $1 coins, or $2 coins for a transaction.</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Bring them to the bank</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prefer to go cashless? Take your coins to the bank and ask the teller to deposit the money into your account or trade them for bank notes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you would rather not make a visit during business hours, worry not – most banks today offer the option to do a bulk coin deposit via ATM. Look up your bank’s website to find out the nearest ATM near you that provides this facility.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Donate them</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Charities are always happy to receive financial help, no matter what form it takes. You can put your coins in donation boxes in supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, museums or more. Local charities and community centres are also likely to accept spare change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">How do you use your coins? Share with us in the comments.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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ALDI employee's secret video leaked: How to score a bargain during the Special Buys

<p>An ALDI employee has revealed a few valuable secrets when it comes to scoring the best bargain at the nation’s favourite supermarket.</p> <p>In an instructional video, generally meant for employees only, a store manager named Ross provides a tour of the company.</p> <p>The four-minute video was originally made to help new employees navigate their way around the store.</p> <p>But opportunistic bargain hunters can rejoice, as the clip also gives an insight into how you can easily get your hands on those sought after deals.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/media/7826126/screen-shot-2019-04-18-at-10.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c2a21b1d3bec4717b94f26513233c222" /></p> <p>Ross begins the tour from the carpark, where he shows employees a secret button to press outside of store hours that will let them inside.</p> <p>He then goes on to mention that all ALDI stores have the same layout.</p> <p>“This makes it easier for the customers to find the products they’re looking for,” he says.</p> <p>Throughout the video, Ross shares a few secrets here and there, explaining why each aisle contains specific items.</p> <p>Then, it’s the moment everyone’s been eagerly waiting for – the Special Buys section.</p> <p>“Specials run right through the middle of the store,” he said.</p> <p>“The new specials are displayed at the back and are advertised to go on sale every Wednesday and Saturday.</p> <p>“Our older specials are condensed and moved to the front of the store as the product sells.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:256.6510172143975px;" src="/media/7826125/screen-shot-2019-04-18-at-10-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/92dcfddbb1a84d358548dc690d576de2" /></p> <p>Meaning, if you’re trying to find a certain item from a few weeks ago, make your way to the front of the store. If it’s in stock, that’s where you can expect to find it.</p> <p>Ross then exposed another valuable secret, saying that every ALDI store has a “specials cage” towards the back.</p> <p>“This is where we prepare our specials and high-value products,” he explained.</p> <p>So if you have your eye on a bargain, then be sure to ask a staff member to check their specials cage.</p> <p>Ross also mentioned that the German supermarket’s penchant for insane deals is what brings customers back into the store.</p> <p>“Specials bring our customers back because it means we have new and exciting products on sale every week,” he said.</p> <p>Do you have any nifty hacks when it comes to scoring a bargain at ALDI? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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Why you shouldn't keep the money you find on the ground

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What would you do if you saw a $50 note on the ground?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some may decide to pocket the bill without a second thought, but the Victoria Police have warned that such conduct would count as theft.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A social media poll on the Victoria Police Facebook page has revealed that out of 21,600 people, only 36 per cent believed that the money should be handed over to the cops. </span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fvictoriapolice%2Fposts%2F2606015869470533&amp;width=500" width="500" height="477" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A person can be charged with theft if they find something belonging to another person and they keep it, or they deal with it as if they are they owner of it,” the police force advised. You can take ownership of the banknote only if it has gone unclaimed for three months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The information surprised many social media users, who said that it is nearly impossible to identify the rightful owner. “How do you prove that you lost the money to begin with?” one asked.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I'd be interested to know how many people go to the police station when they lose $50? I wouldn’t. Seems like a waste of police resources,” another commented.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One added, “If it’s in a wallet and it contains ID then yes I would hand it regardless of what’s in it... but if a loose note floating in the wind… It’s a bit hard to know who it belongs to then I would keep.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some claimed they would do the right thing and head to the police office right away. “I found $6000 in an envelope on the ground,” one chimed in. “I didn’t hesitate, gave straight to the police. Doesn’t matter how much it is, it doesn’t belong to you.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another shared, “I would just hand it in. I have handed in a $20 note before....as it may have been money that a kid had mowed lawns for a month to earn, it may have been someone’s last $20.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Does the “finders keepers” principle apply in law? According to Queensland laws, keeping and using a loose cash you stumbled upon could count as ‘stealing’, unless you do not know who the owner or have attempted to find the owner to no avail.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Indeed, most legal experts believed that taking a small note might not land you in court, but there has been a precedent. In 2017, a British woman was <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-39129975">charged with theft</a> after pocketing a loose £20 banknote she found in a store.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Would you pocket a bill lying on the street? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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4 things you should consider before switching credit cards

<p><span>Thinking about changing your credit card? Our lifestyle and how we use our money can change throughout the years, so it’s always good to re-evaluate your spending habits from time to time and check if your card still fits the bill. </span></p> <p><span>Here are the four things you should consider before switching to another credit card.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Annual fees</span></strong></p> <p><span>The annual fee is not always a deal-breaker – in general, the higher the annual fee is, the more rewards and features the credit card offers. However, if you don’t use your credit card often, you are unlikely to get value out of it as the annual fee cancels out the benefits.</span></p> <p><span>Some cards will also waive annual fees if you spend a certain amount in a year. But if you are not a big, regular spender, a zero-dollar annual fee card might be what you are looking for. </span></p> <p><strong><span>2. Interest rates</span></strong></p> <p><span>Not everyone can pay their bill in full every month – and this is where interest rates matter. Your ability to repay debts may be significantly influenced by the interest rates of your credit card. You may end up getting stuck in a cycle if your card is charging interest rates faster than you can pay off the bills. </span></p> <p><span>When this occurs, you might want to find a balance transfer credit card with a low or zero per cent interest rate for a limited period. You can then move your debt from the old card to the new one, save on interest and focus on getting on top of your balance. </span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Foreign transaction fees</span></strong></p> <p><span>When you are travelling overseas, having a credit card can give you a peace of mind – it makes transactions possible even if you don’t have cash at hand. This convenience comes at the cost of foreign or international transaction fees.</span></p> <p><span>You don’t even have to be abroad to be hit with these fees – if you are shopping online and the merchant happens to be out of the country, the card can still charge you to cover the currency conversion. Most banks and credit providers generally charge between 2 to 3.5 per cent on any purchases being made under these circumstances.</span></p> <p><span>Frequent travellers and shoppers can cut costs by opting for cards that have no foreign currency exchange fees. Many of these cards will also offer other travel benefits, including low to no ATM withdrawal fees.</span></p> <p><strong><span>4. Rewards</span></strong></p> <p><span>You may be a good customer, with regular spending and on-time payments. However, if the rewards that you were promised upon signing up still turn out to be elusive, it might be time to find a new card.</span></p> <p><span>Rewards might take the form of travel miles, points, cash-back, gift vouchers, special offers and more. While these benefits might sound tempting, you most likely have to spend a significant amount on the card to be able to access them. Rewards credit cards also generally come with higher interest rates.</span></p> <p><span>Are you thinking of finding a new credit card? Let us know in the comments.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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How social media can make us spend more and save less

<p>Social media has made it easier than ever to stay updated on the lives of your friends and family members, but what many may not realise is that it can also lead you to splurge.</p> <p>Seeing other people’s consumptions – be it a restaurant dinner, a new car or a trip to Bali – can encourage you to fork out some money of your own, <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w25566">a study</a> has found.</p> <p>Professors from the University of California and University of Toronto discovered that visibility bias leads people to spend more and save less, because they only see what others are spending.</p> <p>According to one of the study’s co-authors David Hirshleifer, our consumption habits are influenced by the social interactions we are having. Because people talk about what they are doing, he said, they are more likely to share about their consumption than non-consumption.</p> <p>Being aware of other people’s spending can lead us to make incorrect assumptions about their financial position as well as ours, the experts said. The heavy spenders around us may indicate that the future wealth prospects are positive, leading us to share the belief and increase our own consumption.</p> <p>“That signal from my peers about what they think about the future, and any income growth, and their resulting actions kind of give me some kind of clue about my future,” Han Bing, another co-author of the study told the <span><a href="http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190320-decoding-the-bias-that-makes-us-spend-and-not-save"><em>BBC</em></a></span>.</p> <p>This bias is exacerbated by social media, as people are more likely to share photographs of their new clothes or boats than their savings.</p> <p>Being aware of the possibility of bias is the first step to prevent overspending, Hirshleifer said. “Psychologists have sometimes found that if one becomes aware of a psychological bias, that can reduce the bias.”</p> <p>It can also be helpful to identify those who regularly share their spending habits on your social media feed and hide or mute their posts for a period. Joining thrift groups on social media can also keep you accountable and counter the excess effect from visibility bias by showing how others are saving rather than lavishing.</p> <p>Have you been spending more since using social media? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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Woolworths hack: How to score a FREE hot roast chicken

<p>A Woolworths customer has discovered a simple trick to score a free hot roast chicken that you might not have known.</p> <p>The Australian woman took to Facebook and claimed in a post that while her partner was doing a grocery shop, a staff member told him how he could get his hands on a free and delicious roast chicken.</p> <p>“He got talking to the butcher and he said at 10 minutes or less before closing time, they have to give the cooked chickens away for free. Not sure if it’s one per person. Apparently staff can’t take them,” she said in a Markdown Addicts Facebook page.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7825927/woolworths-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7c4363435d9241b9b4d256669cfec924" /></p> <p>Another excited shopper revealed how she went home with a trolley full worth of free roast chickens after an employee offered them to her shortly before closing time.</p> <p>“10 free hot cooked chickens, saving $90. Winning,” the customer said.</p> <p>“The deli manager waved us down when we walked in and told us all the chickens were free as they were full and closing in 30 minutes, so we jumped at that chance and filled up but left a few still there for others.”</p> <p>This trick though is especially lucky, as it is a rare occurrence for there to be leftover roast chickens for sale within 10 minutes of closing time, according to a Woolworths spokesperson.</p> <p>“Like all retailers, we work hard to minimise our stock loss with better processes in our store. This is not only the right thing to do, but also good business,” they told the <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6920075/Woolworths-shopper-discovers-little-known-trick-free-roast-chickens.html"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>.</p> <p>“To help manage stock levels and reduce food waste, store managers can elect to mark down roast chickens.</p> <p>“All markdowns are clearly displayed on applicable products.”</p> <p>While the hack unknown to many has been making its way through social media, many former employees shared their thoughts and explained giving away free chicken usually comes down to the manager of the store.</p> <p>“When I was the supervising, our chickens would be marked down and an announcement was made, about 10 minutes before close, most of the time they were sold. But if there were any left after midnight when closed, us staff were able to pick them up and take them for free,” a former staff member explained.</p> <p>A wife of a manager of a store added: “Depends on who’s on that night. Sometimes they’re chucked but from what I’ve heard they will ask people at random if they want them.”</p> <p>While many were excited by the prospect of getting their hands on a free dinner, some were sceptical and warned other shoppers the deal is not a guarantee.</p> <p>“Every store is different! I wouldn’t get too excited,” one user said online.</p> <p>“Majority of the time there are no chooks left, and definitely won’t cook any more after that, so I wouldn’t get too excited if they can avoid giving away for free they will,” another comment read online.</p> <p>Will you be trying out this hack at your local Woolworths store? Let us know in the comments below</p>

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Why you should start planning your aged care now

<p>Most Australians <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-02/where-do-you-want-to-die-at-home-or-hospital/8584318">prefer to die at home</a> but <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/bill-silvester-advance-care-planning-directives/7266814">few adequately plan for it</a>. Consequently, just <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/815-dying-well.pdf">one in seven dies at home</a>.</p> <p>Some say they will make plans “when the need arises”. But what if you have a heart attack, go into a coma, have a stroke, or develop dementia before having shared your thoughts? We’re all ageing and none of us knows when our health will deteriorate to the point where we need daily domestic or medical assistance.</p> <p>In the absence of clear instructions, you may instead be admitted into a hospital or aged care facility. That’s where <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/815-dying-well.pdf">most Australians</a> aged 65 and over end up dying.</p> <p>The earlier you start planning for your aged care, the better. To start off, think about the possible scenarios you may encounter in later life.</p> <p>Consider whom you wish to maintain relationships with, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285592725_Opening_a_Can_of_Worms_Consenting_Adults_in_Aged_Care">including intimate partners</a>.</p> <p>Think about how you will pay for home and aged care services, and whom you might rely on to be your advocate or carer.</p> <p>Communicate your decisions (verbally and in writing) in as much detail as possible to those who need to know, such as future carers and health providers. This removes much of the guesswork later.</p> <p><strong>Relying on government-funded services is risky</strong></p> <p>Government-funded <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-a-home-care-package-and-who-is-eligible-112405">home care packages</a> are intended to keep people in their homes for as long as possible. They provide supplementary support such as cleaning or shopping services, home visits by nurses and, in some cases, equipment to help with mobility or minor home modifications.</p> <p>But while demand for these services is increasing, staffing and funding levels aren’t keeping up. Older Australians wait, on average, <a href="https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/hearings/Documents/transcripts-2019/transcript-22-february-2019.pdf">18-24 months</a> to access a home care package. In the meantime, many people are <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2019/02/12/home-care-wait-forces-move-to-residential-care-inquiry-hears/">forced to move into residential care</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/aged-care/report/aged-care-overview-booklet.pdf">More than 3.5 million Australians</a> are expected to be using aged care services by 2050. This would require an additional 980,000 workers in the aged care workforce.</p> <p>However, aged care providers already report a <a href="https://agedcare.health.gov.au/sites/g/files/net1426/f/documents/03_2017/nacwcs_final_report_290317.pdf">shortage of workers</a>. In fact, the <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2017/04/13/shrinking-home-care-workforce-raises-concerns-report">home care workforce has declined</a> since 2012, meaning much-needed home care services are not always available.</p> <p>It’s also important to note that Australia’s aged care system is increasingly moving to a “user pays” model, whereby aged care clients are means-tested and expected to contribute financially to their care.</p> <p>So it’s unwise to assume government funding will be sufficient to pay for your aged care services.</p> <p><strong>Attitudes to residential aged care</strong></p> <p>Aged care horror stories abound in the media, especially now the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is underway. Unfortunately, equal media coverage is not afforded to the many <a href="https://www.agedcareinsite.com.au/2018/03/scalabrini-village-recognised-as-best">excellent aged care facilities</a> in Australia.</p> <p>The royal commission reported some Australians <a href="https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/talking-aged-care/some-would-rather-die-than-go-into-residential-care">would rather die</a> than live in residential aged care. But there is scarcely any research into public perceptions of residential aged care and whether they change over time.</p> <p>In my own research, such attitudes resulted from exposure to negative media coverage, visiting residential aged care facilities, or working in aged care. Of particular concern were issues typical of institutional living – lack of privacy, personal choice or control. This was a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320907298_Couples'_Privacy_in_Residential_Aged_Care">particular issue for partnered residents</a>, who represent one-third of aged care residents.</p> <p>However, simply making a pronouncement that you reject residential care is not sufficient to prevent it happening. Entry into residential care usually happens in response to a crisis, either because people live alone or because family carers can no longer cope. The most common trigger is <a href="https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/Topics/Care-needs-in-aged-care">dementia</a>.</p> <p>Besides residential aged care, your other options include living independently with or without voluntary family or community support, a home care package and/or self-funded care. However, every scenario requires that you prepare in advance as follows.</p> <p><strong>Preparing for the end of your life</strong></p> <p>On an individual level, there are five important things you can do for yourself.</p> <p><strong>1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle</strong></p> <p><a href="https://mooc.utas.edu.au/courses">Learn about dementia</a>, which is <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170720094907.htm">preventable in one-third of cases</a>. Make lifestyle changes to reduce this and other diseases of old age. Maintaining social connections, getting regular exercise, lifelong learning, quitting smoking, losing weight, treating depression and even correcting for hearing loss all make a significant difference.</p> <p><strong>2. Consult a financial planner</strong></p> <p>Early in your working life, plan your retirement income to last to 90 years of age and beyond. Aim to be debt-free and factor in costs associated with home care.</p> <p>Assume you’ll be one of the <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/aged-care/use-of-aged-care-services-before-death/contents/summary">62 per cent of people over 85</a> who needs residential aged care in their final years and budget accordingly. For this, you will need a bond of A$300,000 to A$500,000 minimum. Except in the lowest socioeconomic groups (who are exempted from bonds), insufficient bond money means many people, especially if they’re partnered, will not be able to afford residential aged care.</p> <p><strong>3. Talk about your wishes</strong></p> <p>First <a href="https://www.caresearch.com.au/caresearch/tabid/5233/Default.aspx">consider</a> your preferences: where you want to die, who cares for you and what provisions you are likely to need. Then make your wishes widely known, especially to anyone you’d like to have care for you.</p> <p><strong>4. Write it down</strong></p> <p>Record your wishes using formal end-of-life planning tools well before you need them. Learn about <a href="https://www.legalaid.tas.gov.au/factsheets/enduring-guardianship-fact-sheet/">Enduring Guardianship</a>, <a href="https://www.legalaid.tas.gov.au/factsheets/enduring-power-of-attorney-fact-sheet/">Enduring Power of Attorney</a> and <a href="https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/for-health-and-care-workers">Advance Care Planning</a> in your state. By recording your wishes and nominating representatives, you will be reducing the stress and uncertainty for your family and health providers.</p> <p>Choose representatives who will willingly act as advocates on your behalf, to ensure your wishes will be carried out. Advance care planning is especially important if you do not want medical intervention to keep you alive.</p> <p><strong>5. Choose carefully where you live</strong></p> <p>Consider the suitability of your home and suburb if walking becomes difficult and driving is no longer an option. Are you near a hospital? Can you reach it by public transport? Can you walk to the shops? Is your garden high-maintenance? Are friends and family nearby? Are there services available that could come to your home? Move before you need to.</p> <p><strong>Support (and be supported by) your community</strong></p> <p>Ageing is a whole-of-community issue – it affects us all. We cannot expect individuals to be solely responsible for their care.</p> <p>In the past, caring for older people in their final years was routinely carried out by families and communities. This is still the best strategy. But it relies on communities forming volunteer groups to actively care for their older people.</p> <p>To safeguard your future, support a volunteer organisation in your neighbourhood, such as <a href="https://www.thegroundswellproject.com/national-compassionate-communities-practice-forum">Compassionate Communities</a> (in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and southwest Western Australia), <a href="https://lasa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Matiu-Bush-Bolton-Clarke-One-Good-Street.pdf">One Good Street</a> (in Melbourne), <a href="http://www.goodkarmaeffect.com/networks/#find">Good Karma Networks</a> (in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand), or <a href="http://amitayus.org.au/">Amitayus Home Hospice</a> (in Byron Shire, NSW).</p> <p>Some of these organisations provide training for those caring for older people. Others invite neighbours to help each other by sharing their knowledge or skills with older people and their carers.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Alison Rahn, Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Humanities, Arts &amp; Social Sciences, University of New England; Senior Research Officer, School of Social Sciences &amp; Psychology, Western Sydney University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-wait-for-a-crisis-start-planning-your-aged-care-now-113572"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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How to start a business after retirement

<p><span>The more mature Australian jobseekers may find it harder to find work. They may not have the skills that younger people have possessed in modern-day education. Or, they may find that when they do have the right skills and experiences that they get overlooked for a younger worker with less wage demands and a long career ahead. This is illegal, and we’ll come back to it shortly.</span></p> <p><span>As time passes and still no job opportunity presents itself, you could always consider becoming self-employed. In fact, the Australian government released <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/research/supporting/self-employed">a study</a> which indicated that self-employment has risen significantly over the last 20 years, especially in construction, trades, and business. Becoming your own boss in later life can have even more benefits than you may think. Here, we’re going to discuss this option in detail and help you consider if it is a path that you could go down.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Age discrimination in Australia</span></strong></p> <p><span>Australia is a forward-thinking country that has implemented laws to protect its citizens and provide them with equal opportunities. These rulings apply to older people who wish to find work. It is illegal for any Australian employer to not employ a legal Australian citizen or resident based on their age. As a result, many older people are able to fight off younger competition for jobs and secure employment. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare even uncovered that between 2006 and 2018 <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australia-at-a-glance/contents/social-and-economic-engagement/employment-and-economic-participation">working people aged 65 and over has increased by 5 per cent</a>.</span></p> <p><span>However, age discrimination still exists, and it is difficult to prove. An accused employer can simply say that another candidate was better positioned for the role or gave better answers in the interview. This also makes it difficult to stamp out. In fact, The Australian Human Rights Commission conducted a survey as recently as 2015 and found that <a href="https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/AgePrevalenceReport2015.pdf">27 per cent of Australians over the age of 50 believe</a> they had suffered from age discrimination when applying for jobs and when in employment. Interestingly, some elderly people had even discussed dying their grey hair before interviews to improve their chances of getting the job.</span></p> <p><span>Although age discrimination should not be overlooked and ignored, jobseekers do not have time for attitudes to change and better methods of clamping down on age discrimination to materialise. This makes becoming self-employed more appealing to many older people who are out of work but want to work. Age discrimination is not the main reason to become self-employed, but it can encourage older people to go it alone and enjoy a successful professional life.</span></p> <p><strong><span>The benefits of owning your own business</span></strong></p> <p><span>Most of us are aware of the major benefits of owning your own business. You don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder. You can plan your days around dog walks and your other commitments, and you get an overall greater sense of freedom.</span></p> <p><span>Becoming self-employed also allows you to work in a niche that you are more passionate about. </span></p> <p><span>Research has suggested that <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/small-business-owners-are-happier-than-the-average-worker-2011-10?IR=T">small businesses owners are happier</a> than their nine-to-five counterparts. Moreover, when you are in the later stages of life, you also get to set up a business that works around you. You can create business hours that lets you see the grandkids midweek and you can choose to work at a pace that you are happy with.</span></p> <p><strong><span>But, how do I run a business?</span></strong></p> <p><span>Many older people were born before the social media boom and as a result are better at communicating with people. Specifically, they are often <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/107/16/7246.long?fbclid=IwAR0IWocc491dEklvj7ZOCDkU-K5X_2XLF1tdxo0-Px5lNZ8UuPAMy0Uk-QI">better at reasoning with people</a> and developing rapport. This gives them an advantage when starting their own business because they can negotiate and talk to customers and clients effectively.</span></p> <p><span>For many people, what is lacking is not business ideas or relevant skills, but the specific knowledge of how to create and run a successful business. A lack of knowledge may be seen as a threat to elderly people, but it really shouldn’t. One study has even suggested that <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11556-008-0030-9?fbclid=IwAR3-xVQiEuduB1rGndmhiCyKJQlUlqI3ByXebrM58vsJdrlrzC83eEwMDEY">learning capabilities among young and older people do not differ significantly</a>. So, there are no reasons why you are not capable of learning new skills to create your own little empire.</span></p> <p><span>To help older people acquire the knowledge to help them make their business successful, they could enrol into an online or distance-learning course. One example would be a valuable <a href="https://online.vu.edu.au/online-courses/mba">online MBA</a> degree. This course will equip you with the knowledge to create a fruitful business in any area you prefer. Additional options would be to talk to other business owners and get help and advice from them.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Is being self-employed for you?</span></strong></p> <p><span>There are no doubts that becoming self-employed can offer a lot of lifestyle and personal benefits to older people. However, it may not be for everyone and you may need to increase your business knowledge to make it work. Fortunately, there are ways to acquire this knowledge. If you do decide to take an exciting adventure in later life, we wish you the best of luck!</span></p>

Retirement Income

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Centrelink scam: 61-year-old welfare cheat caught with $250K in cash

<p>A 61-year-old welfare cheat has been teaching others how to rort the Centrelink system. She would teach them to pretend that their children had ADHD and visit specific doctors who “didn’t ask questions”.</p> <p>Rebecca Assie pleaded guilty last week in NSW District Court to running the fraud syndicate, which was started by her late-husband Kamal Elali from their housing commission home in Western Sydney.</p> <p>When Assie’s place was raided by the Australian Federal Police in 2013, they found a safe with nearly $250,000 in cash. This was when she admitted to helping customers steal $137,397 worth of Centrelink payments between February 8, 2013 and September 3, 2015.</p> <p>However, Assie wasn’t giving this information away for free. “Students” would often pay her cash deposits in order for her and her late-husband to fill out the Centrelink forms for them.</p> <p>One of the couple’s major clients, Joulan Obeid, first approached the duo in 2012 and asked for help claiming false carer payments for her daughter.</p> <p>After Obeid visited her local Centrelink office and handed the couple the forms, Obeid was receiving fraudulent payments within two months. She received these benefits up until May 2015. In total, Obeid received $66,607.69 from Centrelink.</p> <p>Assie and Elali demanded $1,500 for their services. The payments were referred to via code, such as “One kilo and half of grapes for help.”</p> <p>However, after Centrelink introduced tougher rules, cracks began to show in the couple’s plans.</p> <p>On May 13, 2015, Obeid went to a doctor recommended by Assie to get some forms filled out, but the doctor refused to sign them. Assie then recommended that Obeid go to a different specialist.</p> <p>In the phone call that was recorded by the Australian Federal Police, Obeid asked Elali why it didn’t work.</p> <p>“Why don't you sort everything out like last time?” asked Obeid.</p> <p>“They changed the rules... Centrelink became tougher. It's not like before... and the doctor we used to deal with left, he's not here anymore,” Elali responded.</p> <p>Things came to a head when Assie accompanied Obeid to a doctor’s appointment and was asked to leave just moments after introducing herself.</p> <p>She expressed shock to her husband over the phone, saying, “I don’t know who told the doctor we take money.”</p> <p>When her husband asked who told the doctor, Assie responded saying, “He said someone told him.”</p> <p>After her husband Elali died in late 2015, Assie was left to fend for herself. She was forced to contact old clients to see how her husband had filled out the forms fraudulently in order to retain more clients.</p> <p>As her and her late husband were on welfare payments themselves since 1990, Assie herself has received a total of $209,499.90 between 1990 and 2011.</p> <p>The couple had also reported no taxable income from July 2008 to June 2014.</p> <p>Assie is on bail and will return to court to be sentenced in July.</p>

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"They're going to be handing out cash": Millions of Aussies set to benefit in federal budget

<div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The federal government is expected to announce tax cuts when it’s handing down the 2019-20 Budget tonight.</p> <p>Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down his first budget in what is widely seen as a re-election pitch for the Coalition, ahead of the federal election that is likely to take place next month.</p> <p>The Coalition government is set to bring forward tax relief for people earning between $37,000 to $126,000, amounting to 10 million Australians.</p> <p>According to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/federal-budget/federal-budget-set-to-give-millions-of-workers-1000-tax-return-boost/news-story/95d7d876f93bbfd4c53ed536e2e96b4b" target="_blank"><em>Herald Sun</em></a>, it will also double the $530 tax break for people who earn between $48,000 and $90,000, ensuring that 4.4 million workers with low- and middle-incomes get a boost of over $1,000.</p> <p>Apart from the tax reliefs, the government is also expected to launch a number of programs and policies to put money in Aussies’ pockets, including the one-off Energy Assistance Payment for up to four million eligible singles and couples.</p> <p>Frydenberg denied that the Payment was a “cash splash”, claiming the spending was “responsible” and “targeted”.</p> <p>“This is money that is going to go into people's pockets to help meet the cost of their next power bill,” Frydenberg told the <em>Today</em> show on Sunday.</p> <p>There will also be a $75 million measure to allow 65- and 66-year-olds to make voluntary contributions to their superannuations without having to meet the current work test. The age limit for spousal contributions could also be lifted from 69 to 74.</p> <p>Nine’s chief political editor Chris Uhlmann said the budget tonight will reflect the Coalition’s running campaign agenda.</p> <p>“They have to blunt Labor’s attack that everything is going up except your wages and to do that they are going to be handing out cash,” Uhlmann told the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/federal-budget-treasurer-josh-frydenberg-to-deliver-last-coalition-budget-before-may/05bf1923-34fb-484b-9700-c9df78ab0640" target="_blank"><em>Today</em></a> show.</p> <p>“All budgets are political, but this one more than most because as soon as this is done the clock is ticking for when we’ll go to an election.”</p> <p>However, Uhlmann said the opposition may match the Coalition’s offers.</p> <p>“The other thing is the Labor party is likely to go, ‘I’ll see you and raise you on tax cuts’, so in the end it may be completely blunted,” said Uhlmann.</p> <p>“More and more I’m reminded of the 2007 election where the Howard government really was cashed up and the Rudd opposition was on the charge – and they matched almost everything that the government offered and then said ‘this reckless spending has to stop’.</p> <p>“So an interesting campaign ahead.”</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce the election date after the budget is delivered. It is currently predicted that the federal election will take place on May 11, 18 or 25.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Retirement Income

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Ultimate ALDI sale you don't want to miss

<p>ALDI is catering to all the plant lovers out there by releasing its very own range of indoor plants this Wednesday.</p> <p>Customers can expect to see succulents, ferns and orchids alongside seeds and a number of types of gardening equipment in this week's Special Buys sale.</p> <p>“The Aldi plant sale you don't want to miss. Prices start at a bonkers $3.99, succulents from $4.99 and the ever coveted string of pearls for $9.99,” wrote one excited customer.</p> <p>For just $3.99, plant lovers can have ferns, fruit and citrus spray in their hands – or if you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars for this rare launch, you can splurge on an orchid for $14.99.</p> <p>A windowsill garden kit is also going on sale for $9.99 and the three ‘flavours’ include Classic Herbs, Dwarf Sweet Pea Mix or Strawberry Temptation.</p> <p>For those looking to get creative with their gardening, customers can buy an assorted package of bulbs for $7.99 or a mixed packet of seeds for just 99 cents.</p> <p>Fans of the German supermarket are extremely excited to get their hands on the new gardening items.</p> <p>“First truffle brie, now succulents and miscellaneous plants! I feel so connected with Aldi right now,” one excited customer wrote.</p> <p>“Cannot WAIT!!!” another added.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see some of the Special Buys items in ALDI's plant sale.</p> <p>Will you be getting your hands on any of these items? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Income

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The major changes you need to know about starting from April 1

<p>Starting today, Aussies can expect a number of changes on their toll and private health insurance bills.</p> <p>Healthcare will cost more for consumers as private insurance rates increase by an average of 3.25 per cent. Rebates are also dropping between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent from last year’s rates, translating to a rise of <a href="https://theconversation.com/premiums-up-rebates-down-and-a-new-tiered-system-what-the-private-health-insurance-changes-mean-114086">$1 per fortnight</a> in premiums.</p> <p>Insurance holders are being urged to find out how the changes will affect their cover. “These changes are big, and no one really knows the true impact on the overall [health insurance] market until after April 1,” said Choice spokesman Jonathan Brown in March.</p> <p>Laura Crowden, a spokeswoman from the insurance comparison service iSelect, told <a rel="noopener" href="https://finance.nine.com.au/2019/03/27/14/20/private-health-insurance-2019-news-australia-families-pensioners-single" target="_blank"><em>9Finance</em></a> that customers should have heard from their insurers about how their policy and prices are changing.</p> <p>“The 3.25 per cent increase is an average only, so yours might be different,” she said.</p> <p>Road tolls will also be more expensive for drivers in Sydney. Starting Monday, the Eastern Distributor will cost $7.61 for a car and $15.22 for a truck.</p> <p>Drivers on the Cross City Tunnel will need to fork out $5.77, while those using the M2 could pay up to $7.52.</p> <p>“That is a burden, so for some families in Western Sydney now up to 20 per cent of their weekly budget goes to transport costs,” NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury told <a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/changes-hitting-us-april-1-071509742.html" target="_blank"><em>Yahoo7</em></a>.</p> <p>Will these new increases affect you? Tell us in the comments below. </p>

Retirement Income

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The dos and don'ts of a reverse mortgage

<p>Taking out a reverse mortgage on a home that you own can be a big financial help when you retire. Depending on your age, it can allow you to release up to 45 per cent of the value of your home to do things like renovate, travel, enjoy time with family and friends, or simply help you manage your cost of living. However, like any financial product, it pays to know what you should and shouldn’t consider to make it work for you.</p> <p><strong>The dos</strong></p> <p><strong>Do research your options</strong><br />First and foremost, you need to investigate if a reverse mortgage is the best financial option for you, or if you would be better off releasing capital by downsizing. Andrew Ford, CEO of specialist reverse mortgage lender<span> </span><span>Heartland Seniors Finance</span> recommended people to research the best option to suit their financial position.</p> <p>“For customers wanting to weigh up the options, Heartland Seniors Finance has articles and videos on our website about reverse mortgages, and other options such as downsizing, to help you make an informed decision,” he said.</p> <p><strong>Do discuss it with your family and friends<br /></strong>A reverse mortgage is a lifetime loan and there is no requirement to repay it while you live in your own home. However, because the outstanding loan balance including interest is recouped when your house is sold, the beneficiaries of your will receive less when your estate is settled.</p> <p>“Some people don’t discuss it, but when family members see that a reverse mortgage helps you manage with the cost of living, and provides you with suitable accommodation so that you can live independently, they are often highly supportive of your decision,” said Paul Dwyer, Adviser at Reverse Mortgage Finance Solutions.</p> <p><strong>Do keep up with your home maintenance</strong><br />To remain compliant with your loan contract, you must continue to pay your home insurance and council rates, and keep your home in good condition.</p> <p><strong>Do disclose any existing debt to your mortgage broker</strong><br />If you don’t, your mortgage broker will set up a loan plan that doesn’t take the debt into account. Interest on these debts could continue to accumulate.</p> <p>Most of those debts will have higher interest rates than on a reverse mortgage — credit card rates of around <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/credit-cards">8.99-20.99 per cen</a>t compared with reverse mortgage rates of around <a href="https://www.canstar.com.au/home-loans/reverse-mortgages/reverse-mortgage-interest-rates-and-fees/">6.19-6.37 per cent</a>.</p> <p>“It makes sense then to pay out all those existing debts with the lower interest rate on a reverse mortgage,” said Dwyer.</p> <p><strong>Key questions to ask when considering a reverse mortgage:</strong></p> <ul> <li>How much capital do I need to meet my financial needs?</li> <li>Is a reverse mortgage or downsizing a better option for me?</li> <li>How would I like to receive my money over time?</li> <li>Will the loan affect my Age Pension?</li> <li>How much money can I borrow at my age?</li> <li>How will my decision affect my family?</li> <li>How long do I see myself living in my own home?</li> <li>What do I need to do to qualify for a reverse mortgage?</li> </ul> <p><strong>The don'ts</strong></p> <p><strong>Don't think that there is only one way to access the loan</strong><span> </span><br />You can opt to receive your money either as a lump sum payment, a cash reserve draw down facility (similar to line of credit), or a combination of the two. One other option is to have the money paid to you as a regular income, which can be combined with lump sum and reserve options.</p> <p>“The flexibility of a reverse mortgage loan from Heartland Seniors Finance means that you can find a payment type that suits you,” said Ford.</p> <p><strong>Don't forget to consider your funding needs</strong><br />For example, you’ve calculated your renovations and travel expenses and you need to draw down $40K, but you decide to draw down $100K. If the remaining $60K stays in your bank account over time, you are paying compounding interest on the loan, the bank balance asset could affect your Centrelink entitlements, and this may also result in you needing to pay tax on the interest earned from the savings account.</p> <p>Having access to funds from your reverse mortgage, without drawing it until you need it, could avoid these scenarios.</p> <p><strong>Don't assume you will lose the Age Pension</strong><br />Your Centrelink entitlements may not be affected by a reverse mortgage. This depends largely on your individual financial situation, asset test, and how you receive your money. Contact Centrelink to discuss your unique financial position.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Dominic Bayley</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/investment/dos-and-donts-reverse-mortgage.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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The rise of vertical retirement villages

<p>It is no secret people are living longer, thanks to advances in medical technology. Futurist Ray Kurzweil <a href="https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/pelletier20130122">predicts</a> we are approaching a point of breaking even – where for every year lived, science can extend lifespans by at least that much. And more than 80% of Kurzweil’s predictions have so <a href="http://bigthink.com/endless-innovation/why-ray-kurzweils-predictions-are-right-86-of-the-time">far proved correct</a>.</p> <p>But length of life and quality of life are not the same thing. For good quality of life as one ages, there must be optimal retirement options. The default is to stay in one’s current home for as long as possible, or downsize. Some will settle into the quiet life of a retirement village on the urban fringes.</p> <p>But a growing number of retirees who are leading a more active retirement, perhaps still working part-time, want to live closer to the bright lights of the city. It is here that the <a href="http://cbdnews.com.au/retirement-villages-cbd-high-rise-residents/">next generation of retirement living</a> is becoming established in cities around <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/deeppocketed-baby-boomers-reach-for-the-sky-in-australias-inner-suburbs-of-carlton-and-clifton-hill-20150303-13te9h.html">Australia</a>, <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&amp;objectid=11594725">New Zealand</a>, <a href="http://www.aeol.com.au/databases/news/15/11/ndy_high_rise_aged_care.html">Europe</a> and the <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/14/6-top-luxury-retirement-communities.html">US</a>.</p> <p>Driving the trend are well-heeled baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) who have been using technology at home and work for years. For some, technology has been integral to their lives. And it seems it might be integral to the future of retirement living.</p> <p><strong>Vertical retirement communities</strong></p> <p>The chair of the NSW inquiry into retirement villages, <a href="https://www.commercialrealestate.com.au/news/high-rise-retirement-living-is-the-way-of-the-future-experts-say/">Kathryn Greiner, recently recommended</a> integrating designated seniors’ apartments in medium or high-rise residential developments where people of all ages live. Experts have said such retirement communities are the “way of the future”.</p> <p>But the future is already here, as greater numbers of vertical retirement communities in high-rise apartment buildings are <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/highrise-retirement-villages-catch-on-20150610-ghkeej/">being built in inner-urban areas</a> around Australia. They offer high levels of luxury with ready access to the kinds of amenities inner-city dwellers have grown accustomed to.</p> <p>High-rise retirement villages would typically be equipped with various <a href="http://groupn.co/vertical-villages/">smart technologies</a> that connect with the larger technological infrastructure of the city.</p> <p>Similar to luxury hotel suites, residents would have a spectrum of in-house services and entertainment options presented via internet-connected smart TVs. Multimedia suites would be there for augmented or virtual reality experiences – travel and education being among them. In-house cinemas would host movie nights.</p> <p><strong>Health care</strong></p> <p>The way we’re heading, technology-enabled, proactive health management will likely be built into the infrastructure of these retirement villages. It will allow people to stay healthy and live independently at an advanced age, forestalling the time when a move to aged care becomes necessary.</p> <p>The health-maintenance technology available today means retirees hardly need to leave home for a checkup. Telehealth gives on-demand access to doctors via the internet. Visiting nurses have their role in looking after the elderly at home.</p> <p>Then there are the dozens of smartphone apps that monitor vital signs, some of which send timely warnings before something becomes a problem.</p> <p>And while high-rise living may not offer the same access to the outdoors for walking and exercise, technology has other options.</p> <p>“Exergames” – video games that enable physical activity – are a segment of the computer game industry <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180490/">known to be beneficial</a> to people of all ages, including the elderly. Exergames lend themselves well to vertical communities by not needing much space. They are played either alone or with friends in self-contained virtual environments.</p> <p>Apart from the physical benefits of exercise, exergames <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3851268/">have also been shown to improve</a> mental alertness, balance and coordination, all of which contributes to fewer injuries common to the elderly, such as fractured hips from falling.</p> <p>Good help is not hard to find now with assistive technologies like <a href="https://9to5google.com/2018/05/21/google-duplex-explained-turing-test/">Google’s Duplex</a>. These personal assistants fit right into the high-tech home and allow people, wherever they live, to stay independent for longer.</p> <p>The assistant can keep your diary, make appointments over the phone, buy flowers and have them delivered, turn on the lights, call a taxi and more. Autonomy aids like this could delay the transition to aged care.</p> <p><strong>A win-win</strong></p> <p>High-rise apartments are a thorny issue in suburban neighbourhoods, regardless of who is living in them. There are already some <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/mounting-opposition-to-melbournes-highrise-retirement-village-20170217-gufq4h.html">objections</a> to high-rise aged-care facilities. But these mainly come from existing low-rise residents who are not happy to have any high-rise buildings in their neighbourhood.</p> <p>Some are concerned that high-rise communities will lead to social isolation. Traffic congestion is also a concern.</p> <p>When managed well in an architectural and town planning sense, vertical communities offer high-quality living while occupying a smaller urban footprint than a hundred detached dwellings. They can help reverse the <a href="https://architectureau.com/articles/australian-cities-among-the-largest-and-least-densely-settled-in-the-world/">urban sprawl</a> of Australian cities, which are among the largest and least densely settled in the world. We love our <a href="https://theconversation.com/size-does-matter-australias-addiction-to-big-houses-is-blowing-the-energy-budget-70271">big suburban houses</a>, but they do consume vast tracts of countryside.</p> <p>People want to live out their days in the freedom of their own home, not in an institution, no matter how benevolent. And it’s in the national interest to relieve pressure on the public health system. Emerging health-optimising technology and vertical communities can enable this. It’s a win-win.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/96916/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>David Tuffley, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics and Socio-Technical Studies, School of ICT., Griffith University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/vertical-retirement-villages-are-on-the-rise-and-theyre-high-tech-too-96916"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Cryptocurrency: What's the story?

<p class="Body">Every barbecue, every dinner party, and every elevator conversation seems to include cryptocurrency these days, whether it’s an old workmate showing you his portfolio of “coins” on the <a href="https://www.blockfolio.com/">Blockfolio app</a> or a 25-year-old beaming on television about the millions he made buying Bitcoin in 2009.</p> <p class="Body"><strong>What is it, exactly?</strong></p> <p class="Body">Blockchain technology is what we’re talking about, and understanding it is the key to understanding what Bitcoin is (or Litecoin, Monero, Dogecoin — there are so many cryptocurrencies now).</p> <p class="Body">Most people <a href="https://martinjeeblog.com/2017/10/10/the-best-blockchain-analogy-ever/">use analogies</a> to explain it, but essentially, Blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger that records transactions in such a way that they can always be verified and — allegedly — can’t be altered. So if you make a deal with someone, it’s guaranteed that you’re both looking at the same data — which means you don’t have to trust each other.</p> <p class="Body">Bitcoin is an example of Blockchain technology — it’s a decentralised currency that isn’t backed by a government or financial institution, and it uses an open source peer-to-peer protocol to conduct transactions. (If that went over your head, you can see why people fall back on analogies to explain this stuff.)</p> <p class="Body"><strong>How can you use cryptocurrency? Can you actually buy things with it?</strong></p> <p class="Body">In theory, you can purchase things online with crypto — one of the benefits being that transactions are (supposedly) anonymous and untraceable.</p> <p class="Body">Using Bitcoin as an example, the trouble is that there’s a limit to the number of simultaneous transactions that can take place globally. Which means you can end up paying a hefty “tip” to the miners who process them, or risk having your transaction delayed and delayed. Next-generation coins have improved on this, but it’s something to be aware of.</p> <p class="Body">The main thing these currencies are used for at the moment is speculative trading. People buy them in the hope that they’ll continue to increase in value, with no intention of spending them as actual money.</p> <p class="Body"><strong>Where can you buy, sell, and trade these currencies?</strong></p> <p class="Body">As you’d imagine, there’s no one central marketplace for crypto — and not every coin is on every market.</p> <p class="Body">One of the easiest exchanges for us to access is the Australian-owned <a href="https://www.btcmarkets.net/home">BTC Markets</a>. Once your account is verified, you can transfer Aussie dollars from your bank account and use them to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, and some other currencies. From there, you can move your cryptocurrency — Bitcoin, for example — to a trading platform such as the <a href="https://www.bitfinex.com/">Bitfinex exchange</a>, and use it to purchase currencies that aren’t available on BTC Markets.</p> <p class="Body">Of course, when you decide you want to sell the coins you bought on Bitfinex, you’ll have to trade them for a cryptocurrency that can be moved back to BTC Markets and sold for Australian dollars — which can then be withdrawn and transferred back into your bank account.</p> <p class="Body"><strong>That sounds simple enough…</strong></p> <p class="Body">It is — in theory — but you have to pay more attention than you usually would with an online transaction. Because of the decentralised philosophy behind crypto, there’s no authority or ombudsman you can go to if someone hacks your account — or even if you type in the wrong 32-character alphanumeric “address” for your online wallet when sending those coins between exchanges.</p> <p class="Body"><strong>Online wallet? Huh?</strong></p> <p class="Body">You can keep your crypto offline — which is why there are stories of people searching through the garbage for a discarded USB drive with millions on it — but most people keep their coins online, in virtual “wallets”.</p> <p class="Body">For more information on how they work, and some recommendations on which ones to use, see <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/best-cryptocurrency-wallets-2018"><em>TechRadar</em>'s roundup of the best cryptocurrency wallets</a>.</p> <p class="Body"><strong>I’m interested. How much should I invest?</strong></p> <p class="Body">As with any risky venture, only invest an amount you’re willing to see drop dramatically in the space of days — or even hours. It can be exciting to see your $4000 become $18,000 in a month, but it could just as easily drop back down to $3000 while you’re not watching the market. Also, be aware that prices continue to shift 24/7, which can make for sleepless nights.</p> <p class="Body"><em>Written by Shane Cubis. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/investment/cryptocurrency-whats-the-story.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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5 reasons to be wary of downsizing

<p>It’s time to debunk the myth of zero housing costs in retirement if we want to understand why retirees resist downsizing. Retirees have at least five reasons to be wary of the costs of downsizing.</p> <p>Retirees living in middle-ring suburbs face frequent calls to downsize into apartments to free up larger allotments in these suburbs for redevelopment. Retirees who fail to downsize into smaller units and apartments are viewed as being a greedy, baby-boomer elite, stealing financial security from younger generations.</p> <p>It also makes sense to policymakers for retirees to move into less spacious accommodation and make way for high-density housing. Housing think-tank AHURI <a href="http://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/14079/AHURI_Final_Report_No_286_Australian-demographic-trends-and-implications-for-housing-assistance-programs.pdf">fosters this view</a>. Yet seniors remain resistant to moving, in part because of the ongoing costs they would face.</p> <p>The concept of zero housing costs in retirement is based on a 1940s view of a well-maintained, single dwelling on a single allotment of land where the mortgage has been paid off. This concept is incompatible with medium- and high-density housing and refusing to acknowledge ongoing housing costs may cause significant poverty for retirees.</p> <p><strong>Reason 1 – upfront moving costs are high</strong></p> <p>When a house is sold the owner receives the sale funds minus the real estate and legal fees. When the same person then buys a different property to live in, they pay legal fees plus stamp duty.</p> <p>For cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, these costs are likely to exceed A$70,000.</p> <p>These high transfer costs may mean it is not cost-effective <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-older-australians-dont-downsize-and-the-limits-to-what-the-government-can-do-about-it-76931">for the person to move</a>.</p> <p><strong>Reason 2 – levies are high</strong></p> <p>Because apartment owners pay body corporate levies, people often assume this is just the same as periodic payment of rates, water, insurance and other costs. It is not.</p> <p>Fees remissions for low-income retirees for rates, power, insurance and water are difficult to apply within a body corporate environment. As a consequence, these are usually not applied to owners of apartments.</p> <p>The costs of maintaining essential services, such as mandatory fire-alarm testing, yearly engineering certification, lift and air-conditioning inspections, significantly increase ownership costs.</p> <p>When additional services are supplied, such as swimming pools, gyms and rooftop gardens, these also require periodic inspections. Garbage collection, cleaning, gardening, concierge and strata management services also <a href="https://eprints.utas.edu.au/cgi/users/home?screen=EPrint%3A%3AView&amp;eprintid=23322">must be paid</a>.</p> <p>Owners of standard suburban homes choose whether they want these services, with those on fixed incomes going without them.</p> <p>Annual levies for apartment buildings vary, but expect to pay between $10,000 and $15,000. They <a href="https://www.strata.community/understandingstrata/faqs">may be more than this</a>.</p> <p><strong>Reason 3 – costs of maintenance</strong></p> <p>Apartments are often sold as a maintenance-free solution for older people. The maintenance is not free. It needs to be paid for.</p> <p>Maintenance costs are higher in an apartment than a standard suburban home because there are more items and services to be maintained and fixed. Lifts and air conditioning need periodic servicing and fixing. This is in addition to the mandatory inspections listed above.</p> <p><strong>Reason 4 – loss of financial security</strong></p> <p>It is a mistaken belief that the maintenance costs that form part of the body corporate fee include periodic property upgrades. This relates to items that are owned collectively with other apartment owners.</p> <p>Major servicing at the ten-year mark and usually each five-to-seven years after that include painting, floor-covering replacement, and lift and air-conditioning repair or replacement.</p> <p>Major upgrades may also include garden redesign or other external building enhancement including <a href="https://eprints.utas.edu.au/cgi/users/home?screen=EPrint%3A%3AView&amp;eprintid=23315">environmental upgrades</a>. All owners share these upgrade costs.</p> <p>Costs of upgrading the inside of an apartment (a bathroom disability upgrade, for example) are additional again.</p> <p>Once the body corporate committee members pledge funds towards an upgrade, all owners are required to raise their share of the funds, whether they can afford it or not. Communal choice outweighs an individual owner’s need to delay upgrade costs.</p> <p>Owners who buy apartments that are part of a body corporate effectively lose control of their future financial decisions.</p> <p><strong>Reason 5 – loss of security of tenure</strong></p> <p>Loss of security of tenure is usually associated with renters. However, the recent introduction of <a href="http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/25965/Termination_of_a_strata_scheme_by_RG.pdf">termination legislation</a> in New South Wales gives other owners the right to vote to terminate a strata title scheme. When this occurs, all owners, including reluctant owners of apartments within that scheme, are compelled to sell.</p> <p>There are valid reasons why termination legislation is desirable, as many older apartment complexes are reaching the end of their useful life.</p> <p>Even so, as termination legislation is rolled out across the states, owner- occupiers effectively lose control of how long they will own a property for. They no longer have security of tenure, which means retirees may face an uncertain housing future in their old age.</p> <p><strong>Downsizing raises poverty risks</strong></p> <p>Because current data sets do not adequately take account of ongoing costs associated with apartment living, the effect of downsizing on individual households is masked.</p> <p>Downsizing retirees into the apartment sector creates ongoing financial stress for older people. Creating <a href="https://theconversation.com/it-will-take-more-than-piecemeal-reforms-to-convince-older-australians-to-downsize-51043">tax incentives to move</a> does not tackle these ongoing costs.</p> <p>Centrelink payments for of <a href="https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/age-pension">$404 per week</a> are well below <a href="http://acoss.wpengine.com/poverty-2/">the poverty line</a>. Yet we expect retirees to willingly downsize and to be able to cede most of their Centrelink payments to cover high body corporate costs.</p> <p>Requiring retirees to downsize for the greater urban good will shift poverty onto retirees who could barely manage in their previously owned standard suburban home.</p> <p>Failing to understand the effect of high ongoing costs associated with apartment living and reinforcing the myth of zero housing costs in retirement will continue to lead to poor policy outcomes.</p> <p><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><em>Written by <span>Erika Altmann, Property and Housing Management Researcher, University of Tasmania</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/downsizing-cost-trap-awaits-retirees-five-reasons-to-be-wary-80895"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/80895/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>

Retirement Income

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Lotto blunder: Man accidentally wins twice!

<p>A Victorian man is almost $50 million richer after a blunder left him purchasing two Oz Lotto tickets with the same numbers. The numbers then went on to win the division one jackpot.</p> <p>The winner is a “hard working man from St Albans”, as described by Oz Lotto, and he has won $46.6 million. The remainder of the money is going to a player in Hobart.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://thelott.com/real-winners/oz-lotto/three-winning-entries-shares-70-million-oz-lotto" target="_blank">The Lott</a> spokesman Matt Hart said that the double win was “remarkable”.</p> <p>Mr Hart said that the man realised he had won once when staff from The Lott called and explained that he had won twice.</p> <p>“You’re kidding,” he told them.</p> <p>“Am I seeing things? I just checked my entry online and I think I know what you’re about to tell me. I’m speechless. I can’t believe it … I just finished work for the night.”</p> <p>The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained he’d been playing the same number for 30 years.</p> <p>“I play every week. I have always marked my entries but I have never chosen the numbers on anything in particular. They weren’t special before, but they are now.”</p> <p>As for what the man plans to do with the money? He needs time for the exciting news to sink in.</p> <p>“I need time for the news to register,” he said. “I might think about retiring. First maybe a new home or a holiday. I’ll definitely share it with my family.”</p> <p>Another Lott spokeswoman, Bronwyn Spencer, urged people in Hobart to check their tickets. As the ticket in Hobart was bought by an unregistered player, <a rel="noopener" href="https://thelott.com/real-winners/oz-lotto/three-winning-entries-shares-70-million-oz-lotto" target="_blank">The Lott</a> has no way to contact the person to let them know they’ve won.</p> <p>Spencer explained: <span>“Imagine discovering you’re a midweek multi-millionaire,” she said.</span></p> <p>“You may not think it’s possible that you could be the division one winner we’re searching for, but if you purchased an unregistered entry in this week’s Oz Lotto draw that you haven’t checked yet, you’re in with a chance.”</p> <p>Have you had a big lottery win? Let us know in the comments.</p>

Retirement Income

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How many healthy years do you have left?

<p>As the old saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. While death is inevitable, the quality of life you experience until death is often within an individual’s control.</p> <p>This is what our team at the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research chose to focus on by developing <a href="http://goldensoncenter.uconn.edu/projects/">a rigorous measure of quality of life</a>. How many healthy years of life do you have ahead before you become unhealthy?</p> <p>Everyone understands the benefits of living a long healthy life, but this also has implications for industry and society. Medical costs, financial planning and health support services are directly related to the state of health of an individual or community.</p> <p>We call this measure of quality of life “healthy life expectancy” and its complement “unhealthy life expectancy.” We define entering an unhealthy state as a severe enough state of disablement that there is no recovery, so you remain unhealthy until death.</p> <p>It follows that life expectancy – a measure of the total future years an individual is expected to live – is simply the two added together.</p> <p><strong>Calculating</strong></p> <p>Imagine a healthy 60-year-old male who exercises regularly, has a healthy diet and healthy body mass index and sleeps at least eight hours a night. By our estimate, he could have an additional 13 years of healthy living compared to his unhealthy counterpart. That’s 13 more years of quality living with family and loved ones.</p> <p>This is quite a startling revelation, not only because of the significant difference in healthy life expectancy between these two individuals, but also because this difference is driven by lifestyle choices within the individual’s control.</p> <p>So what factors contribute to a better healthy life expectancy? Two factors that are not lifestyle-related are age and gender. All other things being equal, healthy life expectancy decreases with age. Women have a <a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151001-why-women-live-longer-than-men">longer healthy life expectancy</a> compared to men.</p> <p>We have already seen that diet, exercise and sufficient sleep positively impact healthy life expectancy. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/statnt/statnt21.pdf">Other positive factors</a> that we have incorporated in our model include level of education, level of income, perception of one’s own state of health, moderate alcohol intake, not smoking and absence of Type 2 diabetes. The higher the level of education and income, the higher your healthy life expectancy. Having a positive perception of your state of health helps, too.</p> <p><strong>Try it yourself</strong></p> <p>Want to know your own estimate of healthy years ahead? We developed <a href="https://apps.goldensoncenter.uconn.edu/HLEC/">a free online tool</a> that lets you calculate healthy, unhealthy and total life expectancy. This is work in progress.</p> <p>This is the first time such a measurement tool has been developed. While it’s too early to validate the accuracy of our calculations with actual data, we have been careful to ensure that the model assumptions are based on established actuarial sources and the modeling results are logical and consistent.</p> <p>It should be noted that healthy life expectancy is simply an educated prediction. Unforeseen incidents – like being hit by a truck – could render this estimate invalid, no matter how well you manage lifestyle habits. Also, there could be other nonmeasurable factors impacting healthy life expectancy that we have not included in our model, like level of stress, a positive attitude to life or social connections.</p> <p><strong>Putting our model to work</strong></p> <p>Our team plans to explore some of these practical applications of healthy life expectancy in industry.</p> <p>For example, the concept of healthy life expectancy can help with retirement financial planning. Annual retirement spending should not be level across your life expectancy. More discretionary retirement spending should happen during healthy years and less during unhealthy years, while spending on basic expenses increases during unhealthy years.</p> <p>Insurance products can be also designed using healthy life expectancy measures in mind. This can protect an individual against additional basic living expenses during the unhealthy period. One such product could be a deferred long-term care or temporary deferred life annuity, where the deferral period is for healthy life expectancy and the temporary coverage is for the unhealthy period. This can be a significantly cheaper and a more needed product compared to what is available in the marketplace currently.</p> <p>Since healthy life expectancy is also related to quality of life and level of health, a relative index could compare an individual’s results against a benchmark healthy life expectancy for someone with “average” characteristics. This can then be used as an underwriting tool and to predict future health care costs. Our model could also serve as a patient screening tool for medical providers by incorporating more detailed lifestyle and dietary details as well as prior medical history information.</p> <p>We hope that other researchers and practitioners will continue to build on this. Then society could focus on not just prolonging life, but prolonging quality of life using our model. As the saying goes, “In the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/84498/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jeyaraj Vadiveloo, Director of the Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research, University of Connecticut</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/our-calculator-will-guess-how-many-healthy-years-of-life-you-have-left-84498"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Retirement Income