Retiree living expenses climb slightly

The latest Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) statistics on retirement lifestyles have shown a small average jump in the cost of living for retirees in the December quarter despite significant price rises for some essential goods and services, including medical expenses, postage and meat.

The ASFA Retirement Standard figures for the quarter revealed couples aged around 65 would need to spend $60,977 a year and singles $43,317 to sustain a comfortable retirement.

This was up 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively on the September quarter figures.

ASFA chief executive Dr Martin Fahy said: “The fact that the cost of retirement over the most recent quarter only increased by a relatively small amount is welcome news for retirees as prices have been increasing for a number of essentials.

“The costs for what could be called ‘traditional expenses’ for retirees have risen at a rate higher than the overall rise in the CPI (consumer price index).”

At the modest level, the increase was 0.2 per cent for singles and 0.3 per cent for couples. These increases are lower than the 0.5 per cent rise in the all groups CPI.

The 9.4 per cent rise in tobacco excise in the December quarter contributed significantly to the increase in the CPI over the quarter, but ASFA does not include tobacco in the retirement budget calculations.

Fahy said the rate of price increases depended on the lifestyle of the individual retiree.

“Australia’s grey nomads experienced significant price increases due to increased costs for domestic holiday travel and accommodation and a 6.7 per cent increase in fuel costs,” he said.

“Supply shortages caused by the ongoing drought also led to significant cost increases for fruits, meat and seafood, with lamb in particular up a staggering 11.2 per cent.”

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