There is something tragic about the figures we reported today.
Industry estimates suggest that almost 3000 people in the south-west cleaned out their superannuation account and more than 16,000 people took out some since new laws allowing early withdrawals took effect last year.
The policy was one of many measures introduced in an effort to help people through the financial difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Government debt has grown massively to fund schemes such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker and the need to deal with this issue will affect Australia's finances for years to come.
But opening up the ability of young people to tap into their retirement savings ahead of time could be the change that causes the most problems down the track.
As the industry super sources suggest, withdrawals of up to $20,000 now could cost a young person an $80,000 windfall when they retire from the workforce.
As in many other situations, the people who most need the money now are the disadvantaged.
The desire to get access to this money is easy to understand given the dislocation caused by the pandemic. Jobs have been cut back or lost even with JobKeeper in place.
And there is no doubt that the money withdrawn from super accounts has at least in some way flowed through to local businesses at a time of great difficulty for so many traders.
But these people are also likely to be the ones who suffer most in the future when self-funded retirement incomes are smaller than what might have been expected.
One suggested remedy is for the government to top up superannuation accounts.
While further expenditure may not sit well with voters, money will need to be spent eventually to support those retirees who struggle to make ends meet.
It probably doesn't take an economist to guess whether it would be cheaper to tackle that issue now or via pensions in the future.
We can only hope that those reaching retirement age in the coming decades are not left destitute because of their needs today.