Small increase in retiree cost of living in December quarter 2018

There was a small average increase in the cost of living for retirees in the December 2018 quarter, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia has found.

This is despite “significant cost rises” across 2018 in the medical (up 4.2%), postage (10.4%) and meat categories – lamb was up 11.2%, for instance.

Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) compiles cost of living into its Retirement Standard, an estimate of the annual budget needed for a comfortable or modest standard of living in retirement.

The latest ‘comfortable’ ASFA Retirement Standard has the annual budget for a couple aged around 65 as having increased to $60,977, up 0.2% from the September 2018 quarter. For a single retiree the figure has risen to $43,317, up 0.3%.

The ‘modest’ Retirement Standard for a couple around age 65 currently stands at $39,775, or $27,648 for a single person – up 0.3% and 0.2% respectivly.

“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,” said ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy.

He noted that the impact of price increases depended on the lifestyle of retirees.

“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. 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%.”

“On the other hand, retirees living what could be described as a more urban lifestyle experienced only modest expense increases, with the cost of wine down 0.4 per cent over the year. In good news for technophile retirees, computing and AV equipment prices have also dropped slightly by 1.5%, while telecommunication costs have fallen by 4.7 per cent.”

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