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No hordes of hoarders, seniors groups say

Date

John-Paul Moloney

25th September 2012, Story by JP  , Canberra Times Photograph by, Colleen Petch,  Pensioner's who hoard there $100 notes, David Rymer who is president of the Canberra Senior Citizens centre doesn't hoard his $100 notes but can understand why some pensioners do.

25th September 2012, Story by JP , Canberra Times Photograph by, Colleen Petch, Pensioner's who hoard there $100 notes, David Rymer who is president of the Canberra Senior Citizens centre doesn't hoard his $100 notes but can understand why some pensioners do. Photo: Colleen Petch

  • National seniors group disputes hoarding claims

David Rymer has his suspicions about which of his fellow seniors are squirrelling away cash to avoid having their pensions cut. They're the ones whose holidays seem just a bit too fancy or frequent.

But while former Reserve Bank official Peter Mair has claimed many pensioners are committing ''enormous'' fraud through holding undeclared cash stores, Canberra Seniors Centre president Mr Rymer was bemused by the allegation of widespread rorting.''I certainly know of people who get benefits because they've stashed it away … you know from talking to people, you read between the lines, you hear about their holidays,'' Mr Rymer said.

Canberra Seniors Centre president David Rymer says hoarding is rare.

Canberra Seniors Centre president David Rymer says hoarding is rare. Photo: Colleen Petch

''But I don't think it's widespread. A few might do it but we're all getting tarred with the same brush.''

Council of the Aging ACT executive director Paul Flint agreed a small minority of pensioners were sitting on large cash assets to avoid being hit by means testing. He said he always advised people against it, in part because it put them at risk, and not just from authorities who might learn of the undeclared assets. ''It's not a very good strategy, it increases your risks of falling victim to crime if you're keeping or carrying money around and people find out about it,'' Mr Flint said.

While seniors were willing to concede some of their generation were hoarders, many felt under attack for a legitimate preference for using cash. Some, Mr Rymer said, didn't believe it was fair to pay bank fees all the time, so preferred to manage their money the old fashioned way. Others didn't trust, or didn't understand, modern banking.

The idea of a parent or grandparent leaving behind an armchair or a garden shed packed with notes might be the fantasy of some people. But Mr Rymer said times had changed, and the attitude of most seniors he knew was that their money was theirs to spend and not an inheritance to be protected. ''There's an attitude that young people are so well off now that you don't need to save money to hand down to your kids.''

As is the case for most of us, yesterday was a rare occasion for Mr Rymer to handle a $100 note. He scoffed at Mr Mair's suggestion to the Reserve Bank that withdrawing $100 notes from circulation would stop them. ''They'll just start saving $50 notes and $20 notes. It won't stop the small number of people who are rorting, it'll just double the pile of money.''

16 comments

  • This is a totally bizarre story line. A guy who longer works for the Reserve and does not represent the Government is making outraged claims about something he has no facts to prove.

    Given all the costs associated with being a resident in Australia, my only real surprise is that the "black economy" is not bigger given all the taxes and charges that continue to exist but were supposed to be replaced by the GST.

    Commenter
    Outraged of Palmerston
    Date and time
    September 26, 2012, 6:36AM
    • I know of some 'seniors' who are on full government pensions (i.e. welfare) who lead a pretty good life indeed. As they have paid off their house long ago and their pension is supplemented with superannuation (with no cut to the government portion), life is pretty dandy for these old folks. They've done lots of overseas trips as well and up until recently ran two cars. They have a television set in each room of their house and absolutely love election time where the incumbent party showers them with money. No worries whatsoever for these folks and to make matters worse, the bulk of their lives weren't even spent in Australia so they never made the contribution that we hear makes them so deserving of our support. As a taxpayer supporting their very comfortable lifestyle, I would very much prefer the money went to working Australians on lower incomes WITH children to support. Rather than let the children suffer, I think the old age pension should be rationalized.

      Commenter
      dernancourt
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 6:37AM
      • That's a very socialist, left wing response. How dare people live a well off retirement that they earned while others are struggling (often through their own actions).

        Commenter
        rwfe
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 12:30PM
    • If this practice exists, or even if it is believed to exist, it puts all older people in danger of home invasion.

      Commenter
      Mac2
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 7:13AM
      • There are not that many who would have the cash to stack away. For those that do, good luck to them. This government has sold out retirees completely. Self funded retirees have struggled for the time of the government and see no real hope on the horizon. Meantime Swan and Wong find new ways to tax their super. Go for it guys if you can.

        Commenter
        Irene
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 7:44AM
        • Super in a pension stream is not taxed. The benefits of super for retirees has never been greater. So much for these supposed 'new taxes' supposedly imposed by Swan and Wong.

          Commenter
          Trish
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          September 26, 2012, 8:43AM
        • Trish - you obviously have little or no idea how self funded retirees (other than defined benefit PS super) works.

          Commenter
          Irene
          Date and time
          September 26, 2012, 2:16PM
      • I don't believe that pensioners would deliberately hide money, especially the quantities that we are talking about here.

        I believe that they need to turn their attention elsewhere.

        Commenter
        HolySmokeBatman
        Location
        Guildford
        Date and time
        September 26, 2012, 8:03AM
        • dernancourt, my Mum is on the full old age pension with no super and can afford 1 overseas holiday per yr. Why? Because she knows how to budget. Mum is teh rarity, not the norm. Most of her friends are always amazed at what she does on her pension but Mum lives fugally so that she can travel. She would rather live on $50pw for food and wear a thick jumper in winter as that means she can go on a holiday somewhere. You are looking at another exception but treating it like the rule. Most pensioners do not have overseas holidays and do find it hard to survive. $18,000pa is not a lot of money.

          Commenter
          Jane2
          Date and time
          September 26, 2012, 8:40AM
          • Yes, I go on holidays every year in fact. But let me tell you how I do it.
            Fist of all, I buy day old bread, fruits and meat on special. At any given time,
            one can calculate my wardrobe daily to less than $10, because I buy all my
            clothing from op shops and I must say the variety is excellent. I have one heater
            and one fan and these are used in a closed room for my confort. My outings are
            to the shopping centre with my grandchildren and they are allowed one sweet' either a doughnut or a scoop of icecream or to the library where they entertain themselves on a
            vaeiety of games and knowledge. I always ask for pensioner discount. I amalgamate all my outings in one day. When I travel, I eat a great breakfast that lasts me the whole day
            and a sandwich is prepared for the evening meal. I have a 3 cylinder car that takes me
            everywhere and I do attend organized swapmeets to get rid of surplus clothes. I do believe
            in the saying "Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.
            It needs training but what a great way to see the world on a budget..

            Commenter
            thoughts
            Date and time
            September 26, 2012, 9:28AM

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