Eighty-two-year-old Rod Carter says he doesn't want to look at his share portfolio most days as investments that fund his retirement have plummeted.
Despite some recovery this week, the Port Fairy resident said his investments fell between 25 and 30 per cent as the coronavirus shut swathes of the economy this year.
"I've not wanted to look at it," Mr Carter said. "People have to hang on at this stage, there is not a lot more you can do."
He's confident in his long-term finances but as Warrnambool Association of Independent Retirees' spokesman he's worried the stress on self-funded retirees has taken a toll.
"I am sure there are people around who have assets that are above the threshold for the aged pension, but are getting less than the aged pension from their investments," Mr Carter said.
"When you consider they must have had a reasonable quality of life then suddenly to be pushed into a situation where you are getting less than the aged pension. It's a kick in the guts. It would not be helping people's mental attitude at all."
He said historic low interest rates forced many retirees to seek high dividends from shares but many companies had now deferred those payments, while retirees relying on rental income were hurting too. Mr Carter said retirees fell "between the cracks" as governments gave support for working-age Australians.
The association is now calling on the federal government to offer "retiree-only" bonds with higher interest rates than banks.
"It would be great if there were alternatives that would give you a reasonable return with low risk, but there aren't," Mr Carter said.
Assistant federal Treasurer Michael Sukkar told The Standard the government had lowered deeming rates and given retirees more control over savings with temporary reductions in superannuation minimum draw-down requirements.
"The government is halving this requirement to two per cent this year and next year, to give retirees more discretion," Mr Sukkar said.
"Self-funded retirees benefit from a strong economy and the measures we have implemented will ensure Australia bounces back stronger."
Mr Carter said he stuck by advice he gave the association's members earlier in the year: "Don't sell anything".
"It will be up to the old levels eventually. Hopefully it doesn't take as long as the GFC, but it will take a long time."
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