Healthcare, fruit, beer: the price hikes hurting Aussie retirees


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If you are on your trip of a lifetime - or are planning one - it is time to adjust your budget. Domestic holiday costs jumped 6.2%, with fuel costs up 6.7%, over the 2018 December quarter, according to the ASFA Retirement Standard.

"Australia's grey nomads experienced significant price increases due to increased costs for domestic holiday travel and accommodation plus a 6.7% increase in fuel costs," says Martin Fahy, the CEO of ASFA.

Price increases varied depending on the lifestyle of the retiree. The ASFA Retirement Standard reveals couples aged around 65 need $60,977 a year and singles $43,317 to live comfortably.

price retirement cost of living retirees

The drought pushed up prices because of shortages of fruit, meat and seafood, with lamb in particular up a hefty 11.2% over the three months.

Retirees' costs that grew strongly over the quarter include:

  • Medical and hospital expenses, up 4.2%.
  • Postal charges 10.4%.
  • Fruit 5%.
  • Beer 3.5%.
  • Spirits 2.5%.
  • Eating out 2%.
  • Hairdressing 3.2%.
  • Gas and other household fuels 3.2%.
  • Urban transport fares 2.5%.

"Retirees living what could be described as a more urban lifestyle experienced only modest expense increases, with the cost of wine down 0.4%over the year," says Fahy.

"In good news for technophile retirees, computing and audio visual equipment prices have also dropped slightly, by 1.5%, while telecommunication costs have fallen by 4.7%."

ASFA found that the cost of living in retirement increased by a relatively small 0.3% for couples and 0.2% for singles.

Older retirees aged around 85 experienced an average cost of living increase of around 0.3% at the comfortable lifestyle level and 0.2% at the modest level.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.

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