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Poverty may drive to suicide

Only 3 per cent of Australians are planning to provide for the costs of aged care as they grow older and the prospect of old age poverty is making some people suicidal, according to a new report from lobby group National Seniors, the New Daily reports.

The report’s author, Professor John McCallum, said life expectancy for those aged 65 had increased by around six years since the 1980s. “That means Australians must now do something their parents and grandparents didn’t think about – plan for a longer life,” he said.

As a result “earnings from 40 to 50 years of work may have to cover 80 to 90 years of life, but medical and aged care bills tend to get higher as we get older and few people are ready for this”.

But for most people, catering for their increased needs as they age is not on the radar.

Just 3 per cent surveyed by National Seniors planned to spend more money in later life; 61 per cent planned to spend the same amount throughout retirement, and 36 per cent said they wanted to spend more in the early years after giving up paid work.

Perhaps most concerning of all, around 70 per cent of people have no savings by the time they reach extreme old age and go into base level care, where homes cost about 87 per cent of their pension payments.

The prospect of running out of money in retirement can be terrifying and “the depth of despair in some people surprised me,” Professor McCallum said.

Some respondents to the survey took particularly bleak views of their situations. “Suicide is an option when funds expended,” said a 62-year-old man.

Paul Versteege, policy coordinator with the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants, said Australia’s retirement system needed a major overhaul to cope with an ageing population.


Old-age poverty drives some to ponder suicide (The New Daily)


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