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How to spend my pensioner bonus?

By Kevin Luxford - posted Wednesday, 24 December 2008

I guess that by now the Prime Minister's economy-saving Christmas bonus to pensioners will have gone into my bank account.

He wants me to spend it. But this gives me a problem. What am I to spend it on? Blow it all on booze or food that my dietician warns me not to consume? Buy rubbishy plastic toys that will not last and will be in landfill by Easter? Buy electronic and microprocessor components that very likely I will not use before I die?

The amount is not enough to tempt me to do something about our manufacturing industry by buying a new car which I do not really need.


Buy some timeless books? Now perhaps that would be a better choice, except that my bookshelves are already full.

Economists would probably say that whether I purchased durables or rubbish, the effect upon the economy would be much the same, although there would no doubt be some advantage in buying Australian goods. But these days, can I really be sure that what is labelled "Produce of Australia" is really Australian sourced and manufactured?

My wife really does not want me to spend it all. She wants me to tuck it away in some government guaranteed bank account in case I become more of a burden to her than I already am, and she needs to park me in a nursing home. But if I did put it into a bank account, would not my financial institution lend the money for some worthwhile nation building, economy expanding purpose? So what would be the problem if I did not spend it immediately and kept it for some future contingency?

But there is another thought which really nags me, and that is, the money which has possibly just gone into my account has not been earned by me. It is the product of the work of some poor sod who has had this money taken by our government and given to me. Now what might that person been able to do with my $1,050 had it been left in his or her hands? If I were the person who had had $1,050 confiscated by the fiscal fiend, I would want to see it spent on some really worthwhile project, like port expansion, alternative power generation facilities, the Murray River basin, storm water recycling projects and so on. But certainly not to be spent on red wine and brandy by some wheezy old geezer with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin.

Actually what I really would like to do with pensioner's bonus and the cash that my frugal wife has managed to save over the years, in spite of her spendthrift husband, is to lend it to the government at a fair rate of interest for the aforementioned nation building projects. This way I just know that the money will never be wasted, and that I will be keeping it out of the hands of financial institutions which I don't think I could yet trust to lend my money for worthwhile purposes.

Aussie bonds? Now that is something I would really like to see.

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About the Author

Kevin Luxford is an ex high school science and maths teacher. He used his wife's savings to return to university to get an electrical engineering degree. He has worked as an electrical engineer in the New Zealand forestry and paper industries. He moved in to operations research and management. Subsequently he moved to Australia to work in the aluminium industry mainly in computing related fields. He has also worked in oil, public transport and consulting and ended up lecturing at Monash University in Melbourne.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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