Benchmarking the living standards of older Australians using budget standards

Peter Saunders*, Roger Patulny, Adeline Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To demonstrate how a budget standards framework can provide valuable information on the income needed by older Australians to attain a specific standard of living in retirement.

Methods: A budget standard is derived by specifying the items required to achieve a specific standard of living and pricing them to estimate how much is needed to buy them. This paper updates earlier estimates and develops a new comfortably affluent but sustainable (CAS) budget that represents the lifestyles and aspirations of self-funded retirees. Initial updating was in line with movements in the consumer price index, followed by revisions guided by data on actual expenditure patterns and by three sets of focus group interviews with 21 people aged between 61 and 76 years.

Results: The low cost standard for a 70-year-old women living alone in September 2003 was $253 a week. The modest but adequate standard is $330 a week, while the new CSA standard is $611 a week.

Conclusions: The paper demonstrates that employing both quantitative and qualitative dimensions is necessary to give credibility to the complex task of estimating the income needed to attain a specific standard of living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adequacy
  • Budgets
  • Consumption needs
  • Living standards
  • Retirement aspirations


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