Age pensioners receive a small payrise

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The most ethical Easter eggs on the market, why you might retire sooner than you think, and age pensioners receive a small pay rise.

Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Age pension increases

age pensioners getting a pay rise

Despite the growth in superannuation over the past three decades, the age pension is still a major source of income for most retirees.

Around 40% of Australians over 67 receive the full age pension and a further 24% receive a part pension.

This month, the maximum full age pension increased by $19.60 a fortnight for a single person, and $14.70 per person per fortnight for a couple. The current rates for a full age pension for Australian residents:

  • Single: $1116.30/fortnight (approximately $29,028 per year)
  • Couple (each): $841.40 per fortnight (approximately $21,876 per year)
  • Couple (combined): $1,682.80 per fortnight (approximately $43,753 per year)
  • Couples separated due to illness each receive the single rate (see above), which combined is $2232.60 (approximately $58,048 per year)

To qualify for the age pension in Australia you must be at least 67 years old, satisfy Australian residency rules and pass both an income test and an assets test.

Depending on your level of income and the assets you own, you may qualify for either a full or part age pension.

Ethical Easter eggs

Easter wouldn't be Easter without chocolate but not all chocolate is created as fairly as it should be.

The latest Chocolate Scorecard allows you to compare how well chocolate brands do when it comes to caring for the environment, paying farmers a fair wage and producing chocolate without the use of child labour.

The reality is that although chocolate is a multi-billion dollar industry, many cocoa farmers still live in poverty and struggle to earn a living income.

In fact, only six companies are paying a living income to all their farmers. Child labour practises are improving, but there is still a way to go for it to be eradicated. Pesticide use remains high, impacting the health and environment of farming communities.

West Africa produces 70% of the world's cocoa, mostly in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. In the past 60 years, these two African countries have lost around 94% and 80% of their forests, a third of which was cleared to grow cocoa.

Many of the remaining global tropical forests provide critical habitat to endangered species, including great apes.

Tony's Chocoloney took out the winning spot of medium to large companies producing ethical chocolate and Original Beans was the top chocolate brand among small companies. Check the Chocolate Scorecard to see how other brands perform - it might just change where you buy your Easter eggs from now on.

Best-laid retirement plans

Only about a third of people retire from full-time work when they want to, a Colonial First State survey has shown, underlining how factors outside your control can easily undermine the best-laid plans for retirement.

Almost 30% of workers retire because of ill health, and 7% because of their partner's ill health. Redundancy is the trigger for retirement for 11% and, sadly, 4% call it quits because they no longer feel welcome in their workplace.

Interestingly, more than two-thirds of survey respondents expect to do some work beyond retirement age on reduced hours.

Some want to pursue a passion or project, even unpaid, and others say they would like to continue with the same level of work beyond retirement age.

More women own property than men

Australian women may own more property than men after the age of 30, but they are taking longer to get onto the property ladder.

Fewer than one in three women under the age of 30 own a residential property, compared with about one in two men, according to CoreLogic's annual Woman and Property report.

The report, based on a survey of more than 1000 Australians, showed 68.2% of women overall owned at least one residential property, compared with 67.4% of men.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen says the near equal rates of homeownership among men and women aged 30 and over could be attributed to people entering long-term relationships.

"This suggests women may be empowered to buy property later in life as they're in the fulltime workforce - it also probably reflects a lot of people coupling up later in life and buying property through a partnership," Owen says.

Men were also more likely to own an investment property than women and to buy one at a younger age.

Though the delay in women getting onto the property ladder only marginally affected equity in properties, it was important to also look at income levels and other assets to get a real picture of women's financial wellbeing, Owen says.

Women reported lower incomes and superannuation balances, had less money invested in shares and other assets and were more likely to be in part-time or casual work.

Among the Gen Z women who had yet to purchase, about 60% said it was because they did not have enough saved for a deposit and other up-front costs, compared with about 25% of men - who cited not being ready as their most common reason.

Aussie household wealth hits all-time high

Australian household wealth rose for a fifth straight quarter to hit an all time high, new ABS data shows.

The ABS Household Wealth Data reveals that total household wealth was $15.7 trillion in the December quarter, up 7.8% on the previous year.

Residential land and dwellings were the driving force behind the increase, says Dr Mish Tan, ABS head of finance statistics

"Household wealth saw a large boost from rising values of assets this quarter. House prices continued to grow significantly, as did domestic and overseas share markets."

Wealth held in superannuation grew 3.9% to $140.1 billion, while direct ownership of shares increased 3.8% to $51.8 billion.

Pearler co-founder and CEO  Nick says, "It is encouraging to see that Australians have been investing in equities despite rising interest rates and cost of living pressures."

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Joanna Tovia is a senior journalist at Money magazine. She is the former personal finance editor of The Daily Telegraph and author of Eco-Wise & Wealthy, a book about saving money by going green at home. She has worked as a journalist in the US, UK and Australia writing about money, travel, design and wellbeing. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Comments
Ray Gavan
March 29, 2024 8.07am

How good is that Ten Buck a week increase!

well you can't go out and get that much with that but for all the aged people we worked bloody hard to give the kids we raised a deposit on their homes we worked sixty odd years paid taxes endured lots of federal governments sure we saved and paid for our superannuation that I am amazed the federal government has not touched it yet.

,we remember death taxes ,TV liscence plus so after giving this great country we find that only 60% of people living here in the worlds best country were born overseas !

That means our governments have to provide everything for 40% of the population and that's the exact reason labour won government elected by non Aussies looking for some more somethings for nothings.

Paul Keating was right in saying that we will become a banana republic ,it's started with the massive ten Buck for the real Aussies per week...

Just remember Albo you are a one off Aussie Italian dad and pity on you in the next federal election labor will cease to even exist!...

Denis Cowcill
March 29, 2024 6.39pm

I wonder what I can do with $2 a day!!

Laura O'Brien
March 29, 2024 10.34pm

It's discussing what we getting from the goverment really am insult cons8dering how we worked to build this country no thanks what so ever disgusting a lousey $20 dollars a fortnight honestly $10 a week it's a joke. After working so hard for a better future. Plus government houseing take it back off you for rent. I thought after all these years Albo we pensioners would be looked after well your know better than the Liberals Albo and it really hurts 😕 😬 😅