Legislation was introduced into the Australian Parliament this week to increase compulsory employer super guarantee (SG) contributions from 9 per cent to 12 per cent. This is to be done in regular stages over the next seven years and the current age limit of 75 for making contributions will also be removed.
We seem to have a Government as present which, when faced with a fork in the road always decides to take the "wrong one". Consequently, facing a Budget blow out of very significant proportions (too much spending and too little "mining tax" revenue") they decided to focus of the "Cookie Jar", which is every right minded politician's view of superannuation.
Despite the AUD being at 4 month lows amongst most major currencies as this article is written, Sterling has continued it's poor performance against the Australian dollar into 2013 and is at nearly 30 year lows. The chart below shows monthly average exchange rates over the last 20 years - with the AUD continuing to trend well above the long-term "average" rate.
Over three years ago the current Australian Federal Government decided to withdraw the tax exemption available under section 23AG of the Tax Act in relation to the income earned by Australian residents overseas, if they met certain conditions. It was a monumentally stupid thing to do, and that remains the case.
We very much support the idea of Australians spending all or part of their retirement offshore - cost of living differences mean that they can potentially have a much more relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle. It's not for everyone - you need to factor in the impact of prolonged absences from family and lifelong friends - but it is certainly an option that is worthwhile considering.
Australia has one of the highest penetrations of smartphone users in the world and individuals going overseas risk extreme "budget shock" if they allow their phones to keep them automatically updated about the weather, news and sporting results, much less using them for web browsing, email and video viewing.