|Baby boomers should by now be well aware that as they move towards and through retirement, they will place huge pressure on NZ Superannuation.
Every three years, the Commission for Financial Literacy is charged with reviewing retirement income policies. Now is your chance to have a say on how things might be for your future.
When pensions were introduced in 1898 they were set at one third the average wage, payable at age 65. At that time only 2.1% of the population was aged over 65. For the first forty years pensions were income tested and asset tested and a good character test applied. The universal pension was introduced in 1938. Now around 14% of people are over 65 and by 2050, this figure will be 25%.
Some of the key questions to be answered are:
Should retirement savings be compulsory? If not, how can we encourage people to save more?
Should NZ Superannuation be asset or income tested or should it be universal?
Should the level of payment be benchmarked to the average wage?
People are not only living longer but they are spending more. Pensions were originally introduced to alleviate poverty for a few years between retirement and death, but these days, retirees have an expectation of leading a full and active life for around thirty years after they retire. To what extent should the pension cover these costs? How will the shrinking number of taxpayers be able to cover the increased costs?
Possible solutions could include:
Increasing the age of retirement as life expectancy increases
Introducing schemes to allow retirees to draw on the equity in their house
Allowing people to choose their retirement age and adjusting the level of payment accordingly.