Why this newspaper column about wealthy retirees has enraged everyday Aussies
- Wealthy elderly couple criticized for seeking financial help
- The couple has more than $4 million in retirement
A wealthy elderly couple with a multimillion-dollar pension have come under fire after asking for financial help in a newspaper.
A man, 78, and woman, 79, told George Cochrane of the Sun Herald that they receive a pension from a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) and needed some advice.
The husband’s assets totaled $1,599,956 and when combined with his wife’s $675,590, the couple had just under $2.3 million in July 2017.
But their pension total has since grown to well above $3 million, putting them in the top 0.5 per cent of Australians and meaning money deposited into the account will be taxed at a higher rate from July 2025.
The investor asked Cochrane for advice on whether or not to sell some of its shares to stay below the $3 million threshold.
This angered some ordinary Australians, who lashed out at the cashed-in pair for looking for ways to keep their pockets deep as others struggle through the cost-of-living crisis.
An elderly couple has been criticized for asking whether they should sell part of their more than $3 million in retirement to stay below a new tax threshold
“What are the tax consequences if my SMSF reaches $4 million and my wife’s reaches $1.8 million?” the man asked.
“Do we have to sell some of our stock to stay below the $3 million threshold?”
The Albanian government announced changes in February that would double the tax amount for retirement accounts by more than $3 million.
The tax rate will increase from 15 percent to 30 percent on July 1, 2025, and will only affect about 80,000 people – the top 0.5 percent of super savers.
The remaining 99.5 per cent of Australians would continue to receive the same generous tax breaks, meaning the 15 per cent preferential rate would remain unchanged for them.
Cochrane gave the couple no specific advice, but did say, “If your July 2025 super allowance is valued at $4 million and your wife’s is $1.8 million, then 69 percent of the fund’s income will go to your account. Of this, 75 percent of your income is untaxed and 25 percent is taxed at 30 percent, including any capital gains tax. Your wife’s benefit remains untaxed.”
The column was posted to Twitter with the caption: ‘Frankly, if you want to get your blood dirty about generational inequality in Australia, may I recommend the letters on the money page of the Sun Herald’.
“What trouble to have,” the person wrote.
The couple would fall in the top 0.5 percent of retirement savers in Australia, and any money added to the account after July 2025 will be taxed twice as much (stock image)
Social media users flocked to the post to criticize the couple.
‘Damn, the dilemma! It makes me sick, not what dinner was supposed to be for,” one user wrote.
“They’re both approaching 80, it will be an achievement to spend what they already have, and they’re worried about generating more,” a second noted.
A third said: ‘People who write always have mountains of money.
“No student ever signs up to ask about the effect of taking a third job on their housing benefit and HECS (student) debt.”
But one person stood up for the couple, describing those who left negative comments as “just jealous.”
“Others try to have so much of their retirement themselves,” they wrote.