His latest comments on the Grattan Institute Report suggested scrapping plans to raise compulsory super payments from 9.5 per cent to 12 percent and raising the retirement age to 70 are interesting.
Mr Keating suggested that Grattan Institute’s Chief Executive John Daley had a "miserable view" of the world.
When he introduced super 32 years ago he said people retired at about 65 and they died about 83 or 85 although I feel it was more like late 70s at that stage but take his point.
We are now into the 80s as an average death age and he makes the point that the super is not enough to get us through if we live that long.
The Grattan report suggested including the family home in the Age Pension asset test where the home value is above around $500,000.
Mr Keating stated Mr Daley "doesn't get it with his miserable view about having the two Australias" which is a reference to the wealthy and their benefits re tax concessions and negative gearing as examples in comparison to the ordinary folk who have to live on $460 pension a week.
Keating said that Daley's was recommending people work till 70 and put their house in the assets test where now it isn't.
In response, John Daley did not agree with his view. He suggested that with 9.5 per cent compulsory contributions almost all workers would have enough retirement income from super.
He said that on 9.5 per cent, "very few Australians will be on a full age pension until late in life".
I am of two minds over this argument between him and John Daley.
The super contribution could go up slightly in time as Keating advocates but not necessarily to the 18 or 19% originally suggested, as I believe Baby Boomers who have super are currently managing on it very well as Daley suggests but a little more would only help their lifestyle.
Those of us who have chosen a low fee super fund are enjoying 11% interest on average and with part pension plus subsidies for transport, rates, fast food and entertainment and other items, can live comfortably. Our needs are nothing like they were as a parent and most of us can now travel and enjoy life whilst we are fit.
As far as work until 70 I completely disagree with Daley on this. As I have argued previously, it may be good for the brain to keep working but most of us have put 100% into our working life and it is absurd to think we need to work until 70. I kept going until 67 and just decided that I wanted to do something else rather than face workplace culture and varying leadership styles daily. Enough even!
The only thing working until 70 will achieve is a very disgruntled ageing Australia. The majority don’t want it and don’t need it. Their super will see them through if they cut their cloth to suit and as Daley suggests, few are spending up big in retirement.
So as the individual super amounts rise from the current 300 000-dollar levels to four and 5 hundred thousand-dollar levels on average then it only punishes the worker whose life has revolved around the daily grind to keep them going to work as quality time to enjoy life runs out. It is BONZA time at 67- no more work after that.
As previously suggested by BONZA, we have three stages of ageing. Over 50 when we are confronted by our mortality and work and societal ageism begins, over 60 when we realise that our working life is fast approaching the goal posts and we should be doubling our super contributions to increase our super and take advantage of the generous government contributions and over 70s when we are rapidly deteriorating physically and medically and can no longer live a very active lifestyle in most cases.
The fourth stage which is now developing are the 80s to whenever when my doctor says that we spend more money on individual medical needs than we did on them for the previous 80 years because families won’t let loved ones go with dignity if they are terminally ill.
Keating once again comes to the fore here with his suggestion of a government longevity levy, which I am in favour of, to offset the rapidly increasing health budget.
We are currently living on average to the early 80s and that age will increase slightly but I can’t honestly believe that we will stay alive en masse until the 90s and 100s.
It wouldn’t be a happy lot to deal with and there would be a lot of idle time and loneliness for a start but most of us realise that life ends and if we live it well should accept that fact.
Paul Keating says Australia needs a new government insurance scheme for people aged over 80, which would guarantee elderly people income support, aged care and aged accommodation for the remainder of their lives.
He says the insurance scheme was necessary because superannuation savings were insufficient to sustain people living well into their 90s. The growing cohort of people aged between 80 and 100 required a new phase of policy thinking about retirement incomes.
He said a national insurance scheme should be funded by taxpayers through a “longevity levy of a kind – 2 or 3% of wages”
“For people on an ordinary income all their lives – having 80, 100, 120 or $200,000 or more in a lump sum gives them that little bit of comfort in retirement that there’s something to rely on, something to get them out of trouble if they get really sick, support their kids if they have to – all the things that they do,” Keating stated.
Keating thinks it’s a classic model for an insurance scheme and has to be done in the 80 to 100 cohort while we continue to build [superannuation] accumulations between 60 and 80.
My final word on all of this is understanding your Zone of Life as I will name it. I recently travelled to Melbourne to spend some time with my daughter and my granddaughter who was recently born with Williams Syndrome.
She will live a lifetime with some disabilities and of course there is some adapting to do from my daughter, who is a loving mother to her new born but, as all parents of disable children do, and she is trying to live a normal life as possible as she educates herself about disability parenting.
On the plane I sat beside a woman (these things happen for a reason) who asked me why I was traveling to Melbourne. I explained my daughter’s situation and she then directed my attention to her 22-year-old daughter who was seating across the aisle from us. She had lived with a brain tumour all her life which had been operated on several times and was off to Melbourne to play music at a tertiary function there.
I asked her how she coped with the anxiety and stress of her daughter’s medical condition (another operation is coming up) for so long and she replied that “you need to get into your own zone”. She explained that it took her two odd years to realise that what others thought, suggested or implied to her about her life and her daughter did not really matter as it was not their business.
Her business was her daughter’s welfare, so she no longer compared herself to other mothers with children and saw herself as the one responsible for her daughter’s daily medical needs and upkeep and, in conjunction with medical professionals and support groups, she lived a very fulfilling life as a mother and carer of her daughter.
She was so proud that she could now witness her succeed at music as one example of the outcome for her getting in her zone. It basically shuts you off from a negative world.
In reality, we all can get into a zone every decade or so. A zone that suits our age and our beliefs and lifestyle and growing old is no different.
So, figure out where you are at in life and get in the zone for a BONZA life.