Lifestyle versus standard of living

The other day I read an article about superannuation and it had an interesting angle…

The research has found there is confusion between lifestyle expectations and standard of living, with 75 per cent of those surveyed saying a comfortable lifestyle meant “having enough money to do what I want, when I want”.

Standard of living is:

a grade or level of subsistence and comfort in everyday life enjoyed by a community, class, or individual

While lifestyle is termed as:

the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc.,that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group

So standard of living would be having a decent job, enough food, a house and decent clothes, and lifestyle would be having a large two story house, a well paying job, gourmet food and expensive clothes.

In Australia we have compulsory superannuation, which means that our employers put aside a portion of our wages (between 9-15%) that is untouchable until we retire (depending on how old you are, it could be accessible from 55 to 60).

Currently baby boomers are retiring and depending on their industry, might have a lot or not much superannuation. Those who have a bit less can access the aged pension from the government.

Being in my mid-forties, I’m fairly interested in the whole super thing and the line between living now and paying off the mortgage, versus putting as much in superannuation as I can.

I personally contribute extra, which is the recommended thing to do. But I also have a mortgage that I need to pay down as well.

The interesting thing about this article is the lifestyle versus living standard confusion that seems to be happening with Australians.

We underestimate how prosperous we are, while overestimating how much we actually need.  Coincidentally, a Daddo was on TV talking about this the other week, and I discovered it’s actually a UBank production. It’s worth a watch and talks about what we need versus what we think we need to be happy. Not surprisingly, it concludes that we can do OK on less stuff and smaller houses and actually be happier.

One of the questions might really be, why do we think we need more stuff to be happier? However, it seems to be a very human condition and one that is variously promoted by anyone selling anything.

So how does this work into the superannuation debate?

Well according to that MLC research, people who are currently are living pay to pay are then suddenly reckoning they will need $150,000 in retirement to be comfortable! Ummmm, if you don’t feel comfortable now, how exactly is that going to work?

Meanwhile, there was an article about living standards in retirement that offered a different view, saying that we didn’t need all that much to live really, and the figures for a comfortable lifestyle were way out of line compared to a standard or ‘adequate’ lifestyle.

Of course all of this is rather debatable depending on where you are on the lifestyle track currently.

And a big player in being OK in either situation is if your accommodation costs are included or not. Hence the ongoing debate about mortgage versus super payments.

My parents worked very hard, largely as a single income family, to pay off the family home before retirement. My Dad got some good advice and they have what I consider (and they do too) to be a comfortable lifestyle and a good standard of living. They don’t travel all the time and they shop prudently, but they generally have what they want and enjoy life. They never were people who went out dining every second night or bought ‘luxury’ items.

I think I would be just fine on whatever they are on (a super/pension mix) if I too owned my own house. Whatever house that might be. And while previously my plans might have been grander, I’m looking for a bit more balance going into the future. I was a little too stressed and focused on how we would live in retirement and forgot that we needed to live now. Not to mention that we were probably (very probably) overstretched where we were with our incomes as they were.

Currently I don’t feel a lot of financial stress, which is a nice change. I’m not blaming anyone for that, it was largely self imposed, with a bit of values clash in there thrown in.

At the moment, my life is a fifty fifty financial arrangement and that is working for me (and hopefully for the lovely). I still find myself asking the lovely not to buy me things or take me places because of our slightly different income levels. That’s just because I’m not comfortable with someone going into debt for me. It’s still very ingrained from my childhood about debt and spending.

However, I’m more relaxed about spending my own money on things that might be less about prudence and more about fun. I’ve not really been about too much stuff in my life, although I have all the things I want and need. I’m more about experiences and now I’m happier to spend money on those (and hopefully share them with the lovely or others). Not at the expense of the bills, but after saving.

But back to lifestyle versus living standards in retirement…

As long as we have some decent accommodation – with garden – then I think I will be pretty happy. The house the lovely and I have now is very good – not too many steps and fingers crossed, we can pay it off before we retire. The trick is to be happy with it long term and get it how we want. Or alternatively, get something that we can afford down the track that covers our physical, as well as mental and emotional needs. We will have to think carefully with any future moves on how they might affect the retirement funds. However, I think we could both quite happily live here and garden without too much else to amuse us (OK, maybe some TV streaming services!).

I want a good standard of living, which is what I have now with a job. Without a job in retirement, I want a good standard of living too. But I’m happier now to split the experiences so that I enjoy the more expensive ones now and plan for a quieter life later -as long as the odd treat happens and you don’t necessarily need money for that ;).

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring


rainbow lorikeet

Was unable to take my own photos but was lucky to be visited this morning by a pair of gorgeous Rainbow Lorikeets! Stunning!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

(Photo from

Deaf or blind?

It was a quick scroll on Twitter and someone was answering those random questions.

Most are nothing much really, but for some reason this question stopped me scrolling and started me thinking.

Would you choose to be deaf or blind?

I’m guessing no deaf or blind people would necessarily choose either one.

I’m full visioned and full of hearing (apart from some age related loss I’m sure), so I have no experience of either situation.

But it did make me think, what would I choose?

The person had chosen deaf, so clearly they wanted to see more than hear.

I totally get that. I get a lot of pleasure from looking at art, my garden, my child, my parents, my lovely. I can drive, work and live relatively easily with my eyesight and without hearing.

But how could I never hear the sound of my daughter calling ‘Mumma’? The sound of my lovely coming in my arms? The sound of ‘I love you’ from anyone – parents, friends, children, lovers. Would those things still be the same if I could see them but not hear them? What about music, which I crave and am constantly listening to?

It’s a tough call and I don’t know if I can definitively say which sense I could live without. However, in the dark, regardless if it’s my lovely or my daughter, I’m tuned into those voices.

Perhaps you never know what you’re missing. But if you do know, how would you choose?

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring


There was only one problem in the stairwell…

I didn’t kiss you enough. 

I want to kiss you more, with tongue and passion. 

I want to touch you in more places. I want to put my hands all over your body. I want to feel the tension in those long thighs.

I want you to wait longer…

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring 



 I saw this the other day and I laughed so hard. I was also happy that they got the grammar right so I could repost it!

Opinions. They are an interesting thing. Completely subjective and related to our own experience, education and influences (or influencers).

It’s your opinion that my lesbian relationship does not deserve recognition (for example) or  are not legitimate.

If you are a lawmaker/politician, you can use that opinion to create a world where my relationships aren’t recognised the same as heterosexual ones. It’s only your opinion that any change in the law would create something bad. There is no proof of anything actually happening anywhere in the world where marriage equality laws have been running for years but hey, what are facts when you can have your opinion?

So it’s my opinion that while you may be a good person, you are not a logical or right person for having this view. I don’t understand why you would limit someone else’s life choices for no real reason at all. NO REASON AT ALL. Except your opinion.

But anyway, that’s just my opinion. You might have a thought or two about that!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

Sugar sugar

If sugar is a drug then I am addicted.In today’s ‘The juice daily’ the story ran – Why it’s so hard to cut back on sugar – and it resonated with me.

There has been evidence mounting for a while that the sugar we eat daily has addictive qualities that can no longer be discounted.

I’ve talked about my stuggle with my weight before and it goes on.

It’s affected my health and it affects my daughter’s health too – I’m not a good example for her and that hurts me.

So I keep trying, while being realistic about what I can do.

There is little point going on some diet that is going to work initially then put the weight back on within a few months.

My emotional eating kicks in, even when I’ve successfully overridden the addiction to fat/sugar/salt.

It’s a cycle that I’m well aware of, and highly fatigued by, at 44 years of age.

My mother and her mother were overweight. So was my fraternal grandmother. My brother is large too, although is is probably more sugar from beer than my sweet chocolate and cake habit.

When I was 14 I stopped using salt on all but potato – chips or baked, not mashed or boiled. This has remained mostly, aside from seasoning steak to cook and the toasted tomato sandwich we sometimes have on a Sunday night.

So how can I make a deal with myself like this that pretty much lasts a lifetime about sugar?

I’m not sure but some ideas are to give up soft drinks (I currently stick to the sugar free versions) or limit myself to one sweet drink a day. Have less sugar in my tea – currently one heaped sugar but perhaps I can live without it aside from my morning cuppa? Eat my banana sandwich without sugar (I love the crunch) won’t kill me and I’ve done it before.

So I’ll think about some things that I can do that I don’t feel are depriving me and can’t be tossed out as soon as something crappy goes down and I need chocolate.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring