Boomers’ extraordinary money dilemma

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A pair of entitled Boomers are going viral after contacting a newspaper column with some truly outrageous money “problems”.

The retirees – both worth millions – separately wrote to the Sun Herald’s George Cochrane seeking financial advice that revealed they were shockingly out of touch with the financial struggles most younger Australians currently faced.

The first featured a 78-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife who receive an account-based pension from their self-managed super fund (SMSF).

As of July 2017, his holding was $1,599,956 and his wife’s $675,590 – a combined total of almost $2.3 million.

Their combined super funds are invested in Australian shares and give a “healthy return” – however, in the years since 2017, some of their shareholdings have “more than doubled in value”, meaning the husband’s part of the SMSF was now “well over the $3 million limit which the government intends to bring in”.

“What will be the tax implications if my SMSF reaches $4 million and my wife’s $1.8 million? Should we sell some of our shares to stay below the $3 million threshold?” he asked.

And in a second letter sent to the paper’s Money page, a 60-year-old recently-retired woman revealed she and her 50-year-old husband – who have a property valued at $4 million and who accessed the wife’s super to pay down the $300,000 mortgage, while the husband has half a million in super – are planning to relocate to Europe “to a less expensive property so we can travel”.

The couple “prefer not to work” and have no children, so “intend to spend all our money”. “What would be a good strategy?” the woman asked.

The column was shared on Twitter by The Guardian’s deputy news editor Josephine Tovey, who hit out at the “generational inequality” it represented.

“Honestly if you want to get your blood up about generational inequality in Australia may I recommended the letters on the Money page of the Sun Herald? What problems to have,” she wrote.

The questions have exposed Australia's generational inequality. Picture: iStockThe questions have exposed Australia’s generational inequality. Picture: iStock

The post struck a chord with Aussies, attracting hundreds of likes, comments and retweets and with Twitter users variously describing the Boomers’ attitudes as “entitled” and “greedy”.

“Bloody heck the dilemma! Sickens me, not what super was intended for,” one person wrote.

“What baffling capitalist greed …” another said.

“I’ve always found this column loaded with whinging people who have too much money a real insult to general society. All they want to do is get free advice on how to rort the system when they can easily afford a financial advisor. Vile people,” yet another commented.

It comes as new YouGov research commissioned by Findex has revealed two out of three Australians aged 35 to 65 are now worried they won’t have enough money to retire.

The majority (52 per cent) of Baby Boomers and 38 per cent of Gen X noted they were “not confident” of having the money needed to retire compared to 31 per cent of Millennials.

“This paints the picture that most Aussies have adopted a ‘kick it down the road’ mentality to retirement. But when the time eventually comes, they’re faced with the reality that their existing savings and superannuation balance are insufficient in this economic climate,” Findex co-CEO Matt Games said.

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How first-home buyers can save $31kSalary that puts you in the top 10 per centWhile many older Aussies are rolling in cash, younger people are struggling to get by. Picture: iStockWhile many older Aussies are rolling in cash, younger people are struggling to get by. Picture: iStock

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Retirement Standard, a retiree today needs upwards of $500,000 in their super balance.

This sits well above the national average of $356,000 and $288,000 respectively for men and women in their early 60s.

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