HARD TIMES: Self-funded retirees Ian and Shirley Whitehall, of Lennox Head, at the Lennox Head Bowls and Sports Club.
HARD TIMES: Self-funded retirees Ian and Shirley Whitehall, of Lennox Head, at the Lennox Head Bowls and Sports Club. DAVID NIELSEN

Rush to get pension in cash crisis

EVERY week, more than 3000 self-funded retirees are going on the pension because the economic crisis has slashed the value of their superannuation.

And more than 5000 people applied for the pension every week in December; but many failed to qualify

Lennox Head couple Ian and Shirley Whitehall are self-funded retirees, but are worried about their finances.

“I look at our superannuation and shudder,” Mr Whitehall said.

“Shares in the portfolio have certainly dropped and if people aren't buying the goods, then profits will go down for the companies we've invested in.

“We would like to avoid going on the pension if possible, but you just don't know.

“We've cut back a lot. We look at things and ask if we really need it.

“Instead of going out for dinner once a week, it's now once a fortnight.”

According to new reports, the number of pensions granted rose from about 2000 a week in October last year to 3000 in December.

President of the Ballina branch of the Association of Independent Retirees, Betty Doyle, said retirees often couldn't get the pension because they owned property.

“We have investment property and because of the high land values, we can't pass the asset test,” she said.

“But that doesn't mean we have the cash to live on. It's really a catch-22 situation.”

Mrs Doyle agreed that a lot of local retirees would be forced to consider pensions.

“People are proud and they don't like to admit it,” she said.

“But it's happening. Everybody's hurting.

“I know that a lot of people are worried and a lot are borderline.” Mrs Doyle said.



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