The ageing of the Australian population presents numerous opportunities and it is important to understand how senior Australians view different aspects of their own lives, as well as life in Australia more generally.
A summary index is a valuable means of understanding the sentiment of mature age people, and it can be tracked across time as well as across different socio-economic and demographic groups in the population. In this report we present findings from the Seniors Sentiment Index to provide insight into the lives of senior Australians in the past, present and future. Previous research measuring aspects of the lives of senior Australians has focused on economic issues, such as income replacement ratios and other economic indicators, with less consideration given to health and social issues.
For example, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard presents the annual budget needed by Australians to live comfortably or modestly after retirement, given their place of residence and marital status. 1 Similarly, Treasury have projected income replacement rates to compare spending power before and after retirement for a hypothetical individual given a range of assumptions. 2 Although these measures are very useful for financial planning for retirement, they miss many other important aspects of the lives of mature age people. This is the focus of the Seniors Sentiment Index.
With this Index, we plan to decompose the aspects important to wellbeing in later life – such as social wellbeing and health – in addition to financial wellbeing. Further, we will assess differences across a range of socio-economic and demographic characteristics and, importantly, use this first measurement of the Index as a baseline from which we can track the Index over time. Assessment of trends in the Index will illustrate how the circumstances of senior Australians change through successive governments, policy changes and exogenous policy shocks.
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