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.

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.

Modelling shows that middle-income earners, women who are in the 50th percentile of wealth, will consistently be 25 per cent behind on their super balances. It is a similar story across various income percentiles and age groups.

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SOURCE: Leigh Sales, Kirsten Robb, and Laura Francis |