Super Consumers Australia

Edit: New readers to this topic can join this discussion at post 3, 18 March 22.

Last night, we joined the newly formed Super Consumers Australia at their launch party. The Super Consumers aims are to advance and protect the interests of low and middle income people in Australia’s superannuation system.

Here’s a few pictures from the launch:

Super Consumers Director @XavierOHalloran addresses the crowd:

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard:

Former CHOICE board chair (currently Independent Director at SunSuper) Jenni Mack:

Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Gerard Brody

CHOICE CEO @AlanKirkland:

The Super Consumers team:


A bit outside the stated mission of Super Consumers Australia, but with about 30% of Australians over 65 born overseas, our super system (that is meant and is evolving to replace pensions) is not recognised as a pension system by many other countries.

One example is that if a non-US citizen receives $75,000 pa in super they have $75,000 income while a US citizen living in Australia (dual national or not) is expected to pay about $11,000 to the US IRS so has $64,000 left. Since there is no Australian tax on super there is no offset.

When that aspect of super (and tax treaties) comes up there is nought but crickets. There are about 16,000 retired with US citizenship as best I can tell.

There are other countries that consciously treat their expats poorly. The UK seems convoluted in disadvantaging their pensioners who are retired here, apparently ‘aided and abetted’ by our own ATO.

Better or worse performing funds are interesting, but nobody wants to delve into the international inequities that will affect more and more of us as time passes. Perhaps it is because it is political and thus outside the scope of what a consumer organisation can affect but as more and more of us ‘born elsewhere but migrated after years working elsewhere’ retirees are affected I hope it bubbles up to be addressed in tax treaties as well as our own tax laws.

Even before retirement one country’s retirement savings plans are not always recognised by another’s tax system resulting in further inequities. Foreign incomes of all types are also affected by exchange rate fluctuations that can translate a modest tax from one country to a large tax in another, for the same incomes. Planning ahead?

A bit OT but on the way home from the US a few days ago I was seated next to an(other) American citizen living here who was paying about 2.5% of gross income to a US-tax literate accountant to file taxes it is so complex for any but those with few assets.


I have just reviewed the Super Consumer Retirement Planning Report and note what appear to be a couple of typos in the Table Showing the required savings (on the website and PDF/Printed report)

e.g. “In a couple” savings for $40,000 Spending (Low) in the 67 age bracket it shows $88,000.
Similarly in the “By yourself” $33,000 Spending (Low) in the 57 bracket it shows $89,000

These numbers are considerably lower than the amounts shown for the $55,000 and $43,000 (Average) Spending respectively.

Would appreciate if someone can please confirm/clarify that this is correct…



This report is similar - but shows different figures… (??)


I found the table to be poorly set out and hard to comprehend. However, the variance is most likely due to the amount of living expenses that would be covered by the age pension.

The current maximum pension for a single is $25,155 p.a. This means that only a small amount of total expenses needs to come from investment earnings and capital. As the amount of living expenses increases the proportion that comes from non-pension sources increases and the amount of pension will reduce once the income and/or asset test thresholds are reached.


Welcome to the Community @Rob10

I merged your query into this older announcement about Super Consumers to avoid potential parallel discussions, and so readers have some history about the organisation.

I am flagging your post for @BrendanMays to refer it on to the authors, and thanks for letting us know.

Another observation to pass along.


The table reflects a twist that hits self funded retirees who don’t quite qualify for any support. A step change in super savings is required once thresh-holds are reached. This affects many of the not so wealthy super savers. Does it encourage a large group who might be good super savers to cash out or use other strategies to ensure they slip under the thresholds?

The table as published suggests a retired couple to lift retirement income from $55k by just $18k to $73k annually need to increase super savings from $369k to $1.021Million. The savings premium required, $652k for the extra $18k annually seems a poor return. Likely worse given the loss of access to support offered to those of full and part pensions.

For those with several million in super it may not be an argument given SMSFs and the efficient use of trusts to manage tax affairs.

In a one liner it appears better as a couple to have slightly less than $369k. The expert Choice assessment is on the money when it says you don’t need $1M to retire comfortably. You likely need $2M as a couple to be justifiably better off. The incentive for those at retirement age (pre Covid) for those caught between $369k and $1M plus. Gold class rail and first class 5 star while your health holds out, most likely spent OS pre March 2020.

I wonder if there is a better way, not to takeaway from those with lesser or no super, but to better encourage those trapped in the middle.


This is mainly due to the taper rate for the pension assets test. For each $1,000 of assets over the threshold, the pension is reduced by $3 per fortnight ($78 per year). This equates to a return of -7.8% p.a. The rate of return used in most modelling would not be sufficient to cover the loss in pension as well as cost of living increases.

The most direct way to help those trapped in the middle is to reduce the taper rate.

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Is Super Consumers Australia still active?

Last I recall, the Government had agreed to provide funding for SCA to continue. However, the website doesn’t appear to be up to date, with a March 2022 report the most recent post under the “Recent work” heading and the 2022 annual report is not shown.

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They have made some media releases. It seems amateurish the releases do not have dates unless one is on the link, but evidence they are still ‘alive’.


One might surmise their ‘dated annual report’ trails by a number of months?


Hi Glenn, the team is still active and working on a number of issues with superannuation. Here are some of their recent submissions: