Coorabell retirees Jim and Barbara Hardie say they both lived through the Great Depression, so are confident of surviving the current economic downturn.
Coorabell retirees Jim and Barbara Hardie say they both lived through the Great Depression, so are confident of surviving the current economic downturn.

Retirees ‘tighten the belt’ in tough times

BARBARA HARDIE, of Coorabell, is one of the 40 per cent of retirees aged over 55 concerned about having enough money coming in from their investments in the wake of last year’s stock market turmoil.

“But really, I’m beyond worrying now. We’re just going to make do with what we’ve got,” she said.

According to the latest Citibank Retirement Index, 40 per cent of retirees are also worried about relying on the age pension, an increase of 33 per cent.

The report suggests the Federal Government’s $10 billion stimulus package may go largely unspent in the retiree group.

However, Mrs Hardie scoffed at suggestions some people would be putting away some dollars under the bed.

“Well that won’t be happening in our house,” she said.

Mrs Hardie said the past 18 months had been particularly hard, with her husband Jim, who is 82, in and out of hospital.

 “One of our main expenses is health costs,” she said.

However, the Hardies have learnt from bitter experience that when the stock market takes a plunge, it’s better to tighten your belt and stay in it for the ride.

Mrs Hardie said although 2009 would be a hard year, they were happy to sit tight and hoped the market would correct itself before too long.

She said the key to surviving as an independent retiree was good money management.

“I’ve cut my own hair for the past 60 years, we have installed solar hot water and we only run one car, so we manage our money well. Because Jim and I lived through the Great Depression we’re much better at living frugally than the younger generation,” she said.

Tania Browne, investment consultant with Citibank, said it was clear the global financial crisis hadtaken its toll on retirees’ budgets.

“In the past 12 months we have seen the confidence of our senior Australians decline significantly,” she said. “They’re putting it away for expected drier times ahead and holding on to their Christmas bonuses.”



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