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Homeownership key to feeling financially secure in retirement

A recent survey from National Seniors Australia has found that older Australians feel most financially secure in retirement if they are a homeowner, even more than those with high savings or superannuation.

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Owning your home has been found to be the key element that makes retirees feel financially secure in retirement. [Source: iStock]

The survey, a collaboration between National Seniors and investment management company Challenger, asked nearly 3,000 retirees and found on average that retirees felt 75 percent satisfied with their current level of financial security.

Seventy-one percent of survey respondents who were between the age of 60-69 were satisfied with their financial security and this increased to 80 percent among retirees over the age of 80.

For the retirees who outright owned their home, the number that were satisfied with their financial security increased to 81 percent for retirees aged between 60-69 and over 91 percent for retirees aged over 80.

National Seniors points out that while homeownership provides feelings of financial security, super is providing a good base of income to older Australians in retirement.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Seniors, Professor John McCallum, says, "The relative importance of homeownership, super and savings was put into the spotlight in the last days of the Election campaign.

"Owning your own home, having super and private savings are the major items for retirement planning for people of all ages."

This research found that financial security satisfaction increases with age, and age also increases the likelihood of owning a home.

But having good savings and investments didn't necessarily translate to feeling financially secure, with some age groups believing they had higher satisfaction overall with their financial security even though they had lower levels of financial wealth.

Head of Retirement Income Research at Challenger, Aaron Minney, says that the survey findings highlight the difficulties Australian retirees face in the current economy.

"With rising inflation and uncertainty from ongoing share market volatility, retirees who don’t own their own home are feeling nervous about their financial security, regardless of how much they hold in other savings and investments," says Mr Minney.

"For many retirees, owning their home outright represents stability alleviating them from the stress of rising interest rates and rental market uncertainty. But the one in seven either renting or paying off a mortgage might be feeling less confident about spending their savings.

"For many, this will mean working beyond retirement age or closely managing their investments to ensure they have the income they need in retirement."

A positive note from the survey is that superannuation seems to be working well among retirees, with 70 percent of respondents saying superannuation was their top source of income in retirement.

On top of that, only 10 percent of survey participants said they were relying on super alone to fund their retirement.

Mr Minney says, "The good news is that most retirees report having savings for retirement, including 82 percent of women, and 88 percent of men.

"Just 10 percent of retirees are relying on the age pension alone. This strongly indicates that the Australian super system is supporting retirees to enjoy a better lifestyle in retirement."

Around 47 percent of male respondents and 39 percent of female respondents believed that the current super system was enabling them to live a comfortable retirement.

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