Rising electricity prices increase retiree burden

A spike in electricity prices has made it harder for Australians to achieve a comfortable retirement, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) said.

ASFA's Retirement Standard revealed that in the September quarter, a couple's 'comfortable' retirement would cost $56,236 a year, 1.7 per cent up on last year, while a 'modest' retirement would cost $32,511 annually, an increase of 2.3 per cent.

Electricity prices increased by 15.3 per cent and were fingered as a major contributor, along with a 5.8 per cent increase in property rates and charges, which the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said was a result of investment into infrastructure and the introduction of carbon pricing.

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The increase in the minimum dollar figure, between the June and September quarters, for those seeking a comfortable retirement and those pursuing a modest retirement was substantial, ASFA said.

The price of food increased 1.9 per cent, driven by unfavourable growing conditions, a 10.5 per cent increase in the price of vegetables, and a 9.7 per cent increase in the price of fruit.

A 3.9 per cent fall in the price of petrol and a 1.0 per cent fall in the price of motor vehicles during the September quarter presented the only positive news in the decrease of transport costs by 0.8 per cent.

ASFA said relatively large increases in the cost of electricity, food, health, transportation and recreation had led to larger increases than usual - however, over the long term, the effects would likely smooth out.

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