Calls intensify for incentives on default income streams

One accounting body has called for incentives to encourage the uptake by retirees of income streams such as pension and annuity products, and a default annuity option for accessing super at retirement.

IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said while there is extensive legislation regulating how much and the manner in which Australians contribute to superannuation, there are a limited number of rules relating to how they can withdraw superannuation.

Mr Conway said many retirees take a partial or total lump sum with a high percentage, using the lump sum to pay off a mortgage or purchase other non-income supporting assets.

“A smaller percentage of retirees are investing in a pension product such as an annuity or life pension, or an income earning product such as a bank account,” he said.

While the IPA supports choice in superannuation, Mr Conway said the current use of funds “does little to diminish the future pension burden faced by a shrinking workforce and aging population”.

“Annuities may be the missing link in people’s thinking between drawing down from their existing superannuation and finding sustainable income streams that support their retirement,” he said.

Mr Conway said the IPA supports the Financial System Inquiry’s (FSI's) recommendation that annuities be offered as the default option for accessing superannuation after retirement.

“This would mean that people need to opt out in order to receive a lump sum payment, which is the more common method of withdrawing super currently,” said Mr Conway.

“The FSI report stated that greater use of annuities may help retirees’ super savings go further, and reduce the need for them to draw on the age pension.”

 

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