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Over 50? You’re not alone!

Have you just hit the big 5-0? Or was that milestone a long time ago? Either way, you’re in good company – people aged 50+ are the fastest growing age group in Australia – that’s 1 in every 3 Australians, or over 8 million people!

So what does that mean? By the time you are 55, you’re probably thinking about retirement, or at least dreaming of it! What are your plans? Stop working, or just work less? Maybe you’re considering travelling, volunteering or downsizing to cheaper, more manageable accommodation? Moving to a retirement village? Any changes to your income will impact your lifestyle, but you can reduce the stress in your golden years by taking time out early to review your finances and make some important decisions.

One thing you can now consider is the Transition to Retirement (TTR) salary. Created by the Australian government to ease the burden of providing pensions for a rapidly ageing population, it enables Australians to work longer, with the “carrot” being the opportunity to start drawing an income from your super as soon as you turn 55, regardless of whether you’re working or not. This means you could potentially reduce your work hours, rather than permanently retiring. For many over 55’s it has become an effective financial strategy for those wishing to continue fulltime work.

And by the time you’re 60, you’ll be thinking about applying for a WA Seniors Card – the card that keeps on giving! Depending on when you were born, you are eligible to hold a card from 60 to 65 years of age – and free public transport is just the beginning! You can use your WA Seniors Card for free travel on Transperth bus, train and ferry services outside of peak hours. You can also enjoy 50% off regional travel, so head out and do some exploring!

Your WA Seniors Card also offers significant discounts on a range of items, from your driver’s licence to your spectacles and water and council rates. Check them out at www.seniorscard.wa.gov.au/benefits

Eligible Australians over 55 can also apply for a Pensioner Concession Card, which entitles you to reduced cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

So what else do those 8 million over 50 Australians enjoy?

Free Health Checks…in the interest of improving the health of ageing Australians, there are a number of important health checks that over-50’s can access that are free or can be bulk-billed through Medicare, including checks for breast and bowel cancer, diabetes and bone density. Talk to your GP to find out more.

Lower Insurance Premiums…while life insurance premiums may rise as we get older, other types of insurance like motor vehicle and assisted living insurance offer substantial discounts to people over 50. It depends on the insurer so shop around, but there are many providers who offer discounted rates specifically for over 50s.

Mature Age Workers Restart Allowance…if you are over 50 and you’ve been out of work for more than six months, or if you’re an employer looking at a mature age employee, you may be applicable for a Restart Allowance (also known as a Restart Wage). For businesses, the subsidy is a payment of up to $10,000 for employing eligible mature age job seekers for 12 months or more. Why such generosity from the Australian government? Mature workers are often very reliable, have more experience and are more stable than some of their younger counterparts. If you’re looking to work after 55, or looking for work, it’s an opportunity to get a foothold in the job market and save even more money for your retirement.

So whether you’re just over 50 or well over, whether you’re still working or living the retirement village dream, remember you’re only as young as you feel, so get out and enjoy life the very best you can!