RETIREMENT WORRIES: It's not all cruise ships and bowls
BLISSFUL pictures of retirement may look good on television, but the dream of walks in the park and exotic vacations is far out of reach for most Warwick residents.
Finishing work should be the time Australians spend their whole lives looking forward to, but many Southern Downs residents say it is a source of extreme anxiety and stress.
Warwick taxi and bus driver Glenda Curyer has 13 years before she retires, but she is already worrying what she will do when it comes time to hang up the coat.
"Retirement feels incredibly scary and daunting... it's a constant source of worry," she said.
"At my age all I am thinking about is my retirement and how I am going to live and survive."
As a superannuation latecomer, Mrs Curyer is worried she won't have the savings to make ends meet in retirement.
"I don't feel confident that my super will be able to sustain me," she said.
"The idea of super wasn't really drummed into me when I started working. No one ever talked about it."
Mrs Curyer is one of 11.2 million Australians who believe they will either live a 'basic' lifestyle or 'struggle to get by' in retirement, according to a recent survey by the Salvation Army.
As a taxi driver, Mrs Curyer said she saw a lot of local retirees who are struggling with money.
"There's a lot of people just making ends in their senior years," she said.
Other residents have already reached the retirement age, but still can't afford to give up working.
"I think they will take me out of my work place in an ambulance because I don't see myself being able to retire," Warwick resident Anne Francis said.
At 48 years of age, Ms Francis started her first retail job in Rose City Shoppingworld.
But although she qualifies for the age pension, there's still not enough money to cover the "exorbitant" rent and electricity prices in Warwick.
Being a single mother her whole life set Ms Francis back, and now she lives week-to-week, despite being 68 years old.
"I can't retire because I don't have the finances... the pension does not cover the rent and the food if you have never ever had the opportunity to get into anything because you have always been in a poor fight and being a woman," she said.
Ms Francis said she regularly has to dip into her super fund to pay rent and bills.
Like 46 per cent of Australians identified in the Salvation Army survey, Ms Francis said she was feeling more financially insecure in 2018 than in previous years.
Salvation Army officer, Major Paul Moulds, says the housing affordability crisis is having a catastrophic effect on those presenting to the Salvos for help.
"Two-thirds of people accessing our emergency relief services are living under extreme housing stress," he said.
"With more than half of their income going towards housing, many Australians simply can't afford to save money. A lack of job security is also complicating people's financial stability, pushing them further to the margins."