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Comfortable and Affluent

SPRC (www.sprc.unsw.edu.au) has updated the household income budget standards to 2003 from its definitive study in 1997. The original study included two models for standard of living, Low Cost Budget(LC) and Modest But Adequate(MBA). The latest study has added a new level Comfortable, Affluent and Sustainable representing the target living standard of the top 20% of the population. FinDem will be analysing the results of this new study and modifying Research Centre models.

Main indications from the latest study are:

* For an older couple CAS requires $41,348pa net income (2.2 times the age pension) compared to the 2003 indexed value of the MBA level of $23,549pa

* Biggest increase on CAS relative to MBA is for health care which is 4.4 times the amount on the MBA followed by Leisure at 2.77 times the MBA level.

With households currently living on extreme levels of borrowing, and retirement assets below the level able to buy an age pension, shifting from a Modest but Adequate focus to Comfortable and Affluent seems just a little surreal.

Posted Wednesday, 18 February 2004

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