Study finds retirees spend less on themselves and die rich

Monday 11 January 2016

Article by Roisin Kelly-Goldsmith

A new CSIRO study has found Australian retirees are modestly spending well into old age and leaving behind a nest egg for others to enjoy instead. 

Study finds retirees spend less on themselves and die rich

Behavioural economist Andrew Reeson told the Australian Financial Review this morning:

“It seems no matter how large a person’s superannuation balance they stick to the minimum drawdown rates mandated by the government [for tax and pension purposes].” 

"It does seem far from ideal...that so much of the savings people have built up may end up being enjoyed by others," Reeson said. 

Experts and politicians are known to speculate that the reason why seniors leave behind a pool of money when they die is to benefit their children and family. 

Last year, then Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison encouraged seniors to spend their superannuation savings instead of counting on pension payments.

"It is not unreasonable for people who have benefited from tax concessions to build up sizeable superannuation balances to then be expected to draw down on those balances in retirement, rather than draw on a taxpayer-funded pension," Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison said at a press conference last year. 

As current Treasurer of the Federal Government, Scott Morrison is looking into cutting tax concessions for those who retire wealthy. In November last year he spoke at the Association of Superannuation Funds Australia and hinted at potential superannuation changes for the future generation of retirees.

But it would seem that not all Australians are dying rich. While gender-specific results of the CSIRO study reported in the Australian Financial Review have not been revealed, another study found women on average retire with 46.6% less than men. 

The government body called Workplace Gender Equality Agency that pointed to the retirement gap between men and women called for changes in workforce culture for working women. 

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