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Food prices, medical expenses drive up retiree living costs

Martin Fahy

There was a small jump in the cost of living in the December quarter for retirees driven mainly by significant increases in the cost of medical services, postage and food costs, according to recent analysis.

The ASFA Retirement Standard for the December quarter shows that couples aged around 65 would need to spend $60,977 per year and singles $43,317, to live a comfortable retirement.

This is an increase of 0.2 and 0.3 per cent, respectively, from the September quarter figures.

ASFA chief executive Martin Fahy said that while the cost of retirement over the most recent quarter only increased by a relatively small amount, prices have been increasing for a number of essentials.

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“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 Dr Fahy.

At the modest level, the increase was 0.2 per cent for singles and 0.3 per cent for couples, according to the calculation by ASFA.

Older retirees aged around 85 experienced an average cost of living increase of around 0.3 per cent at the comfortable level and 0.2 per cent at the modest level.

Medical and hospital expenses rose by 4.2 per cent during the quarter and postal charges increased by 10.4 per cent.

Mr Fahy said retirees also faced 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 per cent,” he said.

“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.”

Computing and AV equipment prices also dropped slightly by 1.5 per cent, along with telecommunication costs which have fallen by 4.7 per cent.

 

Food prices, medical expenses drive up retiree living costs
Martin Fahy
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