Almost half live pay-cheque to pay-cheque

15 February 2016
| By Malavika |
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Helping Australians fund their own retirement should be a national priority, but it needs a more informed debate around the future of the superannuation system, an MLC research paper says.

The whitepaper, titled ‘Australia Today', said an informed debate around super was possible only after looking at how Australians were living their lives now, how they expected to live in retirement, and how they perceived their own socio-economic standing.

The research, which involved surveying 2,000 Australians, found 46 per cent admitted to living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, including 27 per cent who earned between $150,000 and $199,000, and 22 per cent who earned over $200,000.

MLC chief executive and NAB Wealth group executive, Andrew Hagger, said many Australians still risked a retirement savings shortfall or were not fully engaged with the super system.

"In order to prepare ourselves to tackle this issue, we must first ask some relevant questions — are we living for today, not tomorrow? And are we arming ourselves with the right knowledge to prepare ourselves for retirement?" he asked.

The survey also showed Australians were unclear on their social standing, with 66 per cent of those surveyed labelling themselves as either middle or lower middle class, when in fact, only 20 per cent belonged to this category.

The report also found 40 per cent of Australians belonged to the upper class or upper middle class categories, based on various factors including income, occupation, employment and home occupancy.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent said living comfortably requires at least $150,000 a year, while majority of those surveyed said being worth $1,000,000 did not make them rich.

Half of those surveyed said they expected the government to do more to help middle class families.

"Yet we know people contribute less when government tinkers or even discusses tinkering with the system. Super is a long-term product that needs stable policy," Hagger said.

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