Finance Finance News Financial services lobby calls for tougher pension means testing

Financial services lobby calls for tougher pension means testing

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The Financial Services Council has proposed increasing the age at which people can access their superannuation, and reviewing the assets and income test for the age pension.

In its pre-budget submission, the FSC says it is concerned the stability of Australia’s retirement system is being undermined by loose eligibility rules that allow people with substantial assets to receive pension payments.

The FSC says a couple with a million dollars in assets and an annual income of $60,000 are still eligible to receive a part pension, and many of the other benefits and concessions that go along with that.

The council’s chief executive John Brogden says with the age pension eligibility age rising to from 65 to 67, the superannuation preservation age should also increase.

“What we think makes sense is to put back in place a five-year gap, and that means increasing the age at which you can get your superannuation from 60 to 62,” he argued.

“This will assist the government’s coffers but, at the same time, it recognises that people are living longer and will need to save more money longer in order to fund a longer retirement.”

Mr Brogden says, while its members would collect extra fees if the preservation age rises, self-interest is not what is driving the idea.

“That’s a fair criticism but it’s not accurate. If that’s what we wanted, we’d ask people to contribute to 100,” he responded.

“What we really want is a sustainable system, and we just think that having a situation where there’s a seven-year gap between when you get your superannuation and when you get the age pension, is a disincentive to save.”