Lyn retired with little super and unable to pay the rent. Her story is not uncommon 

 September 21, 2021

By  Self-Funded Freedom

Lyn retired with little super and unable to pay the rent. Her story is not uncommon

By Leigh SalesKirsten Robb, and Laura Francis

Posted updated 
Older woman smiling wearing a green printed shirt.
Lyn Bailey thought her retirement was going to be “pretty rosy”.ABC News: Shaun Kingma

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Lyn Bailey lived a comfortable life before her divorce, travelling overseas and even putting her four children through private school.

She never expected to be staring down the barrel of homelessness.

“I was looking forward to my future and my retirement. it was all pretty rosy,” the 73-year-old told 7.30.

After her divorce was finalised, Lyn thought she would be able to buy herself a unit along the coast of New South Wales with her share of the proceeds from the sale of the family home.

The bank told her it would not lend money to someone in their late 50s.

“For the first time in my adult life, I had to find somewhere to live to rent,” she said.

Lyn also found herself with very little superannuation at retirement age.

“Before the divorce, I didn’t have a lot of super sitting there because of my nursing career, because of my time out to have kids and all of that,” she said.

A woman holding a thermos mug watches the sunrise.
Once she retired, Lyn found she could no longer pay her rent.(ABC News

“But once the divorce had gone through and was finalised, I found myself with even less super.”

She managed to keep her head above water for another 10 years, renting as she continued working past retirement age as a midwife.

But when she finally left the workforce, Lyn didn’t have enough money to continue living in a private rental.

Her story is not uncommon. Australian women in their 50s and 60s are the fastest-growing cohort in the banks of Australia’s homeless.

The options left to retired women without a good super balance to fall back on are often staying with friends or family, living in their car or couch surfing in crowded homes.

Lyn was lucky enough to find secure accommodation through the NSW Housing Trust, but she knows not all women her age are as fortunate.

“It makes people angry when you can’t find somewhere to live,” she said.

“If this had not come up, I don’t know, would I have been living out of my car?”

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