KINGS OF THEIR CASTLES: The share of wealth for older Australians is growing, and they’re spending up big too


Australians aged 55 years and older now own 51% of all household assets, up from 43% just over a decade ago.

The chart below from Macquarie Bank, using household income, consumption and wealth data released by the ABS today, shows the shift in total household assets held by the age group since the 2005/06 financial year.


While it’s not surprising that older Australians have more assets than younger ones given they’ve been earning income for a longer period, allowing them to accumulate assets as result, the increased proportion over the past decade largely reflects changes in asset prices (think the housing boom) rather than demographic shifts.

Indeed, in June 2006, people aged 55 and older accounted for 24% of Australia’s total population, not far off the 26.6% level it sits at today.

In an era of low interest rates, those who already owned assets have clearly benefited from higher prices, seeing the proportion of total household assets held by older Australians increase as a consequence.

And as they’ve becoming wealthier, their proportion of total consumer spending has also increased, a trend in stark contrast to younger age groups over the same period.