Cost of living for retirees remains stable

The cost of living for retirees remained stable in the March quarter, with costs moving only slightly for retirees living at a modest or comfortable level, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).

In its “Retirement Standard” report for the March quarter, ASFA stated couples aged around 65 would need to spend $61,061 a year, and singles $43,255, to sustain a comfortable retirement.

This was up 0.1 per cent and down 0.3 per cent, respectively, on the previous quarter’s figures, while at the modest level there was no increase for singles and a 0.2 per cent increase for couples.

With regard to retirees aged 85 and over, their total budget for a comfortable lifestyle rose by 0.3 per cent and by 0.4 per cent for a modest lifestyle over the quarter.

ASFA chief executive Martin Fahy said: “While for many, the overall cost of retirement was largely unchanged over the most recent quarter, prices have been going up at a greater rate for a number of items.

“The relatively low rate of inflation has brought interest rates for bank deposits to historical low levels, placing pressures on the household budgets for retirees relying on income from term deposits and similar investments.”

While the overall rate of inflation was relatively low, some costs grew strongly due to the drought and associated increases in production costs. The prices of vegetables, poultry and bread were up by 7.7 per cent, 2.9 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively over the quarter.

According to the ASFA data, the largest price increases for retirees’ annual budgets in the March quarter were for medical and hospital expenses, which rose by 1.3 per cent in the quarter and 4.1 per cent over the year.

The average bank balance for couples aged 65 and above was $90,000, with an average housing loan of $14,000.


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