The Association of Independent Retirees (AIR) has called on the federal government to assist self-funded retirees negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AIR president Wayne Strandquist said: “Many self-funded retirees who do not receive an aged pension are suffering financial hardship due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic with little or no support from the government.
“AIR has suggested to the federal government that they consider providing [assistance] to self-funded retirees to help them remain self-reliant and minimise their dependence on the age pension and associated support.”
He pointed out retirees would benefit if the government issued retirement investment bonds at a premium above bank interest rates to fund infrastructure development and economic recovery following the pandemic.
It would also help retirees if the government increased the range of lifetime retirement income stream products available from superannuation providers that would help them achieve better returns than those from traditional annuities, Strandquist noted.
“[The government should] require no minimum superannuation drawdown for all retirees during the current investment market slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
“[It should] broaden the superannuation drawdown age ranges and reduce the minimum drawdown percentages for retirees over age 75 so they can fund increased longevity and higher age-care costs.”
According to Strandquist, retirees in need of financial assistance would also benefit if the government abolished the work test required for superannuation contributions from age 65 to 75.
“AIR acknowledges the unprecedented steps taken by both federal and state governments to control the coronavirus health impact on the Australian population and the economic consequences,” he said.
“We look forward to the concerns of self-funded retirees being considered in the recovery initiatives of the government.”