I am going to Canberra next Tuesday 24th and Wed 25th February to stand in front of Parliament House and ask those very questions on the behalf of my generation.
I haven't demonstrated since the Vietnam War but I feel the need to now as I am concerned about our future based on my situation.
You see for the last 17 years through community presentations, through government departments like Centrelink and through media releases like this on the BabyBoomer web site BONZA, I have preached the message based on the Intergenerational Reports of 2002, 2007 and 2010 that we should plan for our futures and make ourselves financially independent as possible because we will live longer and may not be able to rely on welfare to look after us until our demise.
Further, I encouraged my generation to stay fit and involved as much as possible or face an uncertain future. I believed you could take charge of your destiny if not completely but partially because I believed the Intergenerational Reports predictions.
Then I lost my job last year in April aged 63. Ten months later and many resumes sent to employers looking for workers, I have not got a job. As a consequence and true to my preaching, I am living off savings, spending much needed future superannuation money as I am in hardship and you can have access to it and also looking like being separated in the next month due to the stress of rejection.
To top it off I lost my memory on Sunday and after 24 hours in hospital doing tests I am told I had amnesia caused by stress and anxiety and it is prevalent to our generation. The memory is back now and I am angry because I think we are approaching this Ageing Australia scenario incorrectly.
It is a major issue and I know the next Intergenerational Report will address the issues once more but the earlier reports are off the mark so will the next one really address our problems? For instance there is not a large skill shortage as predicted because the mining boom peeked and is falling so no jobs there. The older Australian workers are also hanging on to their jobs so there is a less significant reduction than predicted and we are running out of time to build the superannuation needed for us in retirement for a few decades without working.
Now the government tell us, and I am sure there will be a lot more announced with the next Intergenerational Report, that the assets of Boomers will have to be assessed and we will have to pay our way a lot more than predicted. I am actually okay with that but would like a better shot at allowing us to prepare for retirement first and have some input into planning for that.
You see the tsunami is here and Boomers are retiring in droves (2000 a week approx) so where is the real concern about the implications? Where is the think tank? What can be done for our future now?
My co-editor Keith Blake and myself have presented a fairly comprehensive report (the BONZA Report) and have listed and sent many suggestions to all forms of government which was acknowledge but not acted upon.
The government can argue they are doing things - like offering incentives recently to employers (around $10,000) but they ignored it because of ageism. There is also some relief for Boomers from looking for work because volunteering is seen as an acceptable activity agreement between us and the government but volunteering doesn't produce superannuation.
I am not sure how many Boomers out there are in my predicament but it is estimated that tens of thousands are using their savings to survive as they are unemployed or under employed.
I hope you can join me outside Parliament next House next Tuesday and Wednesday and demand that our generation's future be taken seriously as we are 25 % of the population but I am quite happy to do it on your behalf.
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