Seniors judge superannuation changes as poorly communicated

SUPERANNUATION changes are broadly fair but have been poorly communicated, according to National Seniors.

Australians are still grappling with what the changes - from the $1.6 million tax-free limit to the $10,000 reduction in the concessional cap - will mean to them.

National Seniors' chief advocate Sarah Saunders said generous top-end concessions represented money better spent in areas like health and aged care.

"But rushing straight from the May budget to the noise of an election campaign was not the ideal way to 'sell' them," she said.

"People have had very little time to unpack the changes and there's been a lot of confusion.

"We welcome the rollover of concessional caps and widening access to partner contributions, and the $1.6 million tax-free cap is reasonable."

But Sarah said some angst had been expressed over the reduced concessional contributions caps, particularly from women returning to work late in life who used these to build their savings.

"Ultimately, it's important to have certainty around the retirement income system and changes should be careful, open to discussion and not driven from a single quarter," she said.

"It's only fair that people who've planned, based upon a particular set of rules, have time to adjust, otherwise confidence in the entire system is undermined."

A more worrying issue among older Australians is the pension asset change, due to take effect from January 2017.

"Combined with historically low interest rates, the assets change will see self-funded retirees near the thresholds living off less than a full pensioner," Sarah said.

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