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Boomers blossom out

AUSTRALIA’S average age has increased by 5.8 years in the last 20 years to 34.9 years.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics since June 1979 there has been very slow growth in the number of children (aged less than 15 years) in the population (5 per cent), while the number of people aged 15-64 years has increased by 35 per cent and those aged 65 years and over has increased by 70 per cent.

The number in our population aged 85 and over has increased by 154 per cent since 1979.

The comparison with other nations globally indicates that the European countries, Japan and Hong Kong have smaller proportions of children and higher proportions of older people than Australia.

In contrast, countries from the Asian region have proportionally more children and far fewer older people. The ageing of the Australian population has been as a result of the passage of baby boomers working their way through their lifespan.

But, for the establishment of government policy, this ageing can have serious implications. No longer can governments be the sole provider of social security benefits and a retirement income safety net to all the residents of Australia.

Over the last 17 years, since 1983, governments have worked hard to place some of the onus back on to us to fund our own retirement needs.

The changes to superannuation and taxation as well as the tightening of access to Centrelink benefits have all been geared towards making us fund our retirement.

However, it is only in recent years that we have understood how critical this function is.

It is in these years that we have seen the use by most people of financial planners to help them with their planning process.

It is also in these years that people have questioned what it is that financial planners do to assist them in the attainment of their retirement goals.

All of this highlights the fact that we, as a nation, need desperately to ensure that we undertake a high level of savings so as not to be dependant on the government to provide for us.

There seems little doubt that the government will not be in a position to do so.

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