Survey shows fewer women need men in retirement

While Australians continue to wait longer to retire, the impact on women’s working lives is greatest, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Monday.

“On average in 2016-17, Australians aged 45 years and over were intending to continue in the labour force until 65 years, up from 63 years a decade ago,” ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said.

“This is consistent with the continuing trend of people staying in the workforce for longer,” Mr Hockman said. “A decade ago, around nine per cent of people aged 65 and over were employed. This has increased to around 13 per cent in 2016-17.”

The report, Retirement and Retirement Intentions, is conducted every two years and surveys those aged 45 years and over, whether or not they are retired.

In the 45 to 49-year bracket, five per cent were retired, compared with 64 per cent of 65 to 69 year olds and 82 per cent of those aged 70 or more.

In 2016–17, of men aged 45 years and over, 58 per cent were working, 36 per cent had retired, three per cent were out of work but not retired and three per cent had never worked, the ABS said.

“In contrast, 47 per cent of women aged 45 years and over were in the labour force, 40 per cent had retired, eight per cent had never worked and five per cent were not in the labour force but had not yet retired.”

Based on the latest Multipurpose Household Survey, the data indicated that women’s retirement circumstances varied more compared with respondents in the 2014-15 survey.

Two years ago, 13 per cent of the female respondents said they expected to rely on a partner’s income compared with 11 per cent today.

The bulk of people who had previously retired and rejoined the workforce or intended getting a job were women – 108,200 out of 177,500.

Reliance on a government pension or allowance was also down to 25 per cent of all respondents compared with 27 per cent previously.

Of the 1.6 million men who had already left the workforce, 29 per cent of them retired aged 65 years and over compared with 26 per cent previously – an increase of three percentage points.

However, the number of women who waited until 65 to retire climbed five percentage points from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

And it seems baby boomers become restless more easily nowadays, with 32 per cent of them saying they returned to work because they were bored or needed something to do, compared with 28 per cent two years ago.

By occupation, people working in sales had the highest average age that they expected to retire at in 2016-17, at 66 years, while community and personal service workers had the lowest at 64 years.

Did you retire at the age you had planned to? If you are still in the labour force, when do you think you will retire? Will you have to work longer than you hoped for financial reasons?

Amendment: ABS has confirmed that an ABS supplied table published in this article was incorrect. The ABS table has been removed and will be replaced when correct information is available.

Written by Olga Galacho

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