March 1, 2017

Vol 7 Ed 2

Volume 7 Edition 2 Financial Care Services Newsletter

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Financial Care Services Newsletter by Christine Hopper
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors

Volume 7 Edition 2 – 28 February 2017

Looking ahead to retirement

Long ago “working life” continued for as long as people could physically manage to attend the workplace.

Then early last century “old age pensions” were introduced to provide a subsistence level of income to physically worn out workers and their widows. The qualifying age of 65 years allowed the average manual worker a final few years of life without having to show up for work every day.

Last century’s pensions allowed for a most basic frugal standard of living for those unable to support themselves in work. The community shared their financial resources to ensure that no Australian lived in severe poverty. The working taxpayer looked at pensioners and thought, maybe that pensioner who is old, ill or injured could be me in a few years or a member of my family.

Our parents might have joined the workforce by age fifteen and continued in full time paid work for fifty years. Many did not live to reach their dream of a few years of ‘retirement’. In contrast, the really healthy minority might have enjoyed many years pottering around the garden. Their level of retirement income ranged from only the Age Pension to a very substantial income from employer sponsored superannuation pensions and/or personal wealth .

Alas none of us are guaranteed the option of retiring whilst still in good health and with the financial resources for a comfortable and active lifestyle. But we still look forward to a fulfilling retirement including travel and the indulgence of hobbies.

In practice, we may choose to forgo spending during our working lives to accumulate assets to finance our retirement lifestyle. We can choose to ‘retire’ from the conventional paid workforce as soon we like. But the wider community might not be willing to finance our ‘retirement’ whilst we are physically and mentally capable of earning.

As the general health and fitness of older Australians has improved, the age at which we are considered too old to support ourselves from work has increased. The Age Pension Age for women has already increased by five years, from 60 years to 65 years.

The impact of the next wave of increasing Age Pension Age for men and women will start in July 2017. Australians born after June 1952 will be a little older when they reach their Age Pension Age but possibly in better health than when their parents qualified for an old age pension. If you were born in July 1952 you would reach your Age Pension Age in January 2018. You may cease full time work whenever you choose but you will need to provide for your own expenses at least until you reach your Age Pension Age.

Check your Age Pension Age

The Centrelink administered means tests limit the amounts of Age Pension payable to seniors who have their own financial resources and other assets. Age Pensions and Disability Support Pensions provide only a modest standard of retirement living. If you want a more active or comfortable lifestyle in retirement then you would need to set aside assets in advance.

When you choose to exit the full-time workforce could depend on your financial resources in retirement including any Age Pension entitlement.

Financial Care Services offers two packages for seniors approaching retirement.

One option is the ‘$99 Special Age Pension Illustration Short Consultation’ providing personal factual financial information in the form of an Illustration of the amount of Centrelink Age Pension you could receive today provided that you satisfied the age and residency conditions for a Centrelink Age Pension. You can start the Short ‘personal financial factual information’ Consultation by emailing for the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and Age Pension Data form.

The other option is a ‘Retirement Planning Consultation’ which includes consideration of your overall financial position and personal financial retirement planning. The ‘Retirement Planning Consultation’ includes an analysis of your financial situation and personal financial retirement planning advice.

Retirement Planning Consultations require more detailed personal and financial information to be provided by the client to allow for the potential implications of your health status, housing needs and any liabilities to be considered in addition to the structuring of your assets to generate “retirement income” including any Age Pension entitlements. Retirement Planning Consultations are charged at professional adviser hourly rate fees.

Email Christine at Financial Care Services for the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and Retirement Planning Advice Personal Financial Data form to start your aged care financial advice.

ACAS – the permission slip to enter residential aged care

An “ACAS” is a completed Aged Care Assessment Service assessment which results in eligibility for “permanent” and/or “respite” residential aged care in a Commonwealth regulated aged care facility.

If a senior has a current ACAS then the family could be reassured that the paperwork is in order for the senior to enter aged care if the usual support person is unavailable. The ACAS does not guarantee that a bed will be available in your choice of aged care facility when your family want a place.

In general terms, across Australia there are enough places in Commonwealth regulated aged care facilities to accommodate all of the seniors who need a place. Finding a suitable place for your family member could be challenging because of the distribution of places by location and type of care.

Some families ask, “Must my mother enter residential aged care now that she has an ACAS?”

The family cannot force a frail senior to enter a Commonwealth regulated aged care facility. But the family do need to ensure that a frail or demented senior receives the care and support that she needs.

Seniors who wander away from home could benefit from ‘secure’ residential aged care. A frail person might appreciate having carers available whenever she needs to move from her chair or bed. Such 24 hour care is possible in residential aged care or when living with family.

If a frail senior prefers staying in her own home then the family needs to arrange for both domestic services and personal care and support. A ‘home care package’ could be a link to a range of ‘in home’ services and some funding for those services. Personal support could be available via the ‘home care package’; some domestic help might be possible also. However, the ‘home care package’ might not stretch to cover the full extent of the ‘in home’ services that you might like for your family member.

The family could then faces difficult choices: residential aged care, personal care from a ‘home care package’ and self-funded additional support and domestic help.

Every family has its own needs and preferences. Financial Care Services advises client families about the costs of residential aged care and home care means tested fees.

The first step to the independent advice for aged care is to email Christine at for the Financial Care Services Aged Care Checklist to collate the data for independent financial advice before entering residential aged care. You will also receive the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide that provides information about Financial Care Services and the Aged Care Checklist.

Financial Care Services your independent financial adviser

Financial Care Services is an independent financial advisory service specialising in retirees of modest means and aged care entrants. Our core values of working with clients in their lifetime financial planning supports claiming DVA and Centrelink entitlements.

Financial Care Services charges fees based on the work involved in advising you about pensions and aged care financial solutions and arranging your investments.

To make an appointment for confidential, independent and professional advice about aged care, retirement lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper  or call +61 3 9808 0338.


Financial Care Services

Christine Hopper
Financial Care Services Pty Ltd
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Australian Financial Services Licence Number
299570 (check this at
Authorised Representative Number 252529 (check this at

Telephone – call +61 3 9808 0338
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations.

All eligibility for Commonwealth benefits will be determined by Centrelink or DVA, based on your personal position as documented and the legislation and Regulations in force at that time.

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