Is Ken Wyatt kidding? Or is he on to something with his ‘senior gap year’?

Is Ken Wyatt kidding? Or is he on to something with his ‘senior gap year’?

The Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, has suggested that older Australians should take an unfunded gap year before they retire. The more we consider this suggestion, the worse it looks.

Yesterday, Mr Wyatt addressed the National Press Club on ‘Australia's New Age of Opportunity’. During his speech, he suggested that the gap year would allow people to plan their futures while ensuring that they have a job to go back to. The upside, he noted, was that now that those who finish work in their 60s generally live another 20 years, the year off would allow them to return to work with ‘renewed vigour’.

Wow. A gap year would mean 12 months’ leave of absence without pay.

And wow again. Just what planet is the Minister on, we wonder? According to YourLifeChoices most recent Retirement Affordability Research, 81 per cent of all retirees believe they will outlive their money. And 56 per cent of retirees were forced into retirement by ill health or lack of work opportunity – not because they actually wanted to leave the workforce. We know from our other research conducted in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission’s former Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, that those aged 50 or over who find themselves out of work can take more than a year to secure full-time employment again – and some never do. So how do senior Australians who are currently underfunded for retirement (think mean superannuation balances of $322,000 for men and $180,000 for women) manage to take off a year without pay? Has the Minister actually modelled what a hit to their retirement nest eggs this might be? We are aware that no modelling has been done for the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) to date, so is this a similar scenario where an idea is floated and an assumption made that it’s economically viable?

Let’s face it. The idea of a year off at age 60 is immensely appealing. But if you do follow Minister Wyatt’s advice and take that gap year, spending a fair whack of your retirement nest egg to fund yourself, then you’ll need to hope like hell you have work to go back to.

Thought bubbles are not really useful when it comes to retirement income policy. What we need is sustainable and affordable policies to ensure that older workers are not subject to ageism in the workplace, instead, that they are valued enough to maintain their jobs for as long as they are able to work.

Is a gap year the best way to celebrate your 60s? If so, how will you fund it? Do you think you can return to the workforce afterwards?

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    COMMENTS

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    fearlessfly
    27th Oct 2017
    10:48am
    Hello Hello ? This idiot is no different to all the other government idiots who have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA of what present day reality is like. These clowns have their ears whispered into by a growing army of sycophantic nitwits who themselves are completely divorced from real life. 21st century REALITY ! Hello Bladerunner 2017 !
    marto
    27th Oct 2017
    11:32am
    Well said all i can say is God bless Australian because these morons are obivously on drugs
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    11:34am
    Rubbish the idea is an awesome one.
    Anonymous
    27th Oct 2017
    12:25pm
    Rubbishing the idea is an awesome idea.....
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    12:26pm
    Hello OG - missed you. OK I hope.
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    1:07pm
    I'm great. I took my caravan for a 6 week holiday.
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    1:47pm
    :)
    Happy cyclist
    27th Oct 2017
    3:39pm
    Fearlessfly, I believe your response is a valid one but why do you have to be so rude? The thing is, all pollies have been elected by us so who are the idiots then if we voted for them? Anyone can put their hand up if they think they can do better, eg Jackie Lambie. Your extreme rudeness is uncalledfor.
    Rae
    27th Oct 2017
    6:02pm
    Awesome idea. Just walk away from the chaos for a year and let the teary brigade cry to over the spilt milk and have to get on with fixing the messes without any help or interference.

    Welcome back OG.
    Triss
    27th Oct 2017
    9:36pm
    Nice to see you back OG.
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    10:11pm
    Thanks already planning next trip.
    miker
    27th Oct 2017
    11:02am
    Minister Wyatt is no different from his other colleagues, Over funded, Out of touch with reality and in that permanent Gap year called Term of Office
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    11:56am
    Bwahahahaaaa !! Good one ;)
    AutumnOz
    27th Oct 2017
    5:03pm
    The term of office is very fully funded so can't be called a gap year :-)
    Brissiegirl
    27th Oct 2017
    11:11am
    It's a good idea to ease into retirement, particularly for men. I'd be more in favour of scaling back hours of work, or say 4 days a week then back to 3 days.
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    12:28pm
    You have to be very careful with that deal. I found they just saw my spare hours as something that could be filled with something else - at a lower wage.
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    1:21pm
    Yes, Rosret. In this day and age, a real threat for young(er) folk :(
    Mad as Hell
    27th Oct 2017
    11:28am
    Wouldn’t know if the band was next to him till they clapped the cymbals.
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    11:34am
    Great idea to take a year off at 60 so you can tick lots of items off your bucket list while young enough to enjoy them. He is definitely on the something here.
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    12:12pm
    If you are fortunate enough to have a job that is 'permanent' , secure etc (you know what I mean) then why not scale back, slightly, and work through your 'bucket list' on your annual leave or long service leave through out your WHOLE life instead of waiting until you have been working for 30-40 plus years ?? Worked for me and I was inspired by a booklet I read many, many years ago in a back country hut up in the mountains. It was about a young man who saw many friends killed in WW2 and escaped death himself many times. He resolved that if he survived the horror of war he would do something substantial with that gift. He did survive and when he had settled back home he deliberately set aside a whole month (I think that was the amount of time) to sort out his 'bucket list' He finally ended up with a list of 100 things he wanted to achieve in his life. Many were familiar to us all. e.g. marry the 'right' woman, have children etc but the list included such wonders as sleeping in a tree in the bush, a paddling holiday up a remote river, learn to sail etc etc You get the idea :) The article was written when he was 67 years of age and he only had 8 more 'targets' to achieve :) A life well spent I thought. THAT inspired me and I find myself, at 78 years of age, with only 3 real regrets. Gotta be happy with that, I reckon D:
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    12:17pm
    I only had one regret in life but I met the man concerned some 30 years after the event. He told me that he wished he had made the same decision I did as he regretted the decision he made. He told me why and my regret was no more.

    My bucket list continues to grow but I have a lot more crossed off than I have left on it now. Crossed off many things in the last six weeks.
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    12:19pm
    p.s. and in case you are wondering ;) 1. I never learnt to (snow) ski....2. I never had an affair with a cello playing, plaid skirted, cashmere cardigan wearing redhead, in a remote stone cottage.....and 3.. I'm sorry, that one is not fit for general publication :D
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    12:21pm
    .....and yes, I have found contentment :) Huzzah !!
    inextratime
    27th Oct 2017
    11:45am
    So an unfunded gap year. That would mean a dent in savings of at least 30 grand and as much as $50 grand taking into account travel and the expenses associated over the year against no income. With multiple reports suggesting the most retirees do not have enough savings to get them through their life span already, it doesn't seem like a very workable idea, tho' some experts in financial matters on here are bound to disagree.
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    11:49am
    Many people have large entitlements such as annual and long service leave stored up with many having a year or more stored up.
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    12:33pm
    Lots of people do this already and prepare themselves for the year well in advance. It does have merit for the individual - not so much for the company who can't "move on".
    Mothers do it all the time to raise children.
    It would be lovely to be able to leave and have the right of return as sometimes circumstance demands it however it isn't fair on everyone else.
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    11:55am
    Jeez !!! Do these idiots NOT know how few (and lessening all the time) working folk are PERMANENT staff or have extremely generous employers which enables them to take 'leave without pay' and be confident of having their hard fought for jobs still there when they return ???? For gods sake get real and check out the REAL world before rushing to see your name in print :( Experts ? Ex....has been (s)p(u)rts.......drips under pressure ;)
    johna53
    27th Oct 2017
    11:57am
    Ministers for Aged Care have, for the past 20 years been set a goal of reducing its departmental budget. Even Dumb & Dumber know this. But even Dumb & Dumber also know that our infamous pollies could go a long way to meeting this problem if they would just cut back on their own Post Parliamentary Perks. I don't know any job where you work for 7 years then receive an exorbitant non-working salary for life. They just want us all to stick our heads in the sand while they keep on buggering us.
    Gammer
    27th Oct 2017
    12:02pm
    I had so much annual and long service leave accrued that I took nearly a year off on half pay, went back to work for a few months, and then retired knowing that I could manage financially having ‘practiced’ for a year...
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    12:12pm
    Many people do the same these days.

    27th Oct 2017
    12:24pm
    Yes.... next question.....
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    12:26pm
    You can do this now. Some people accrue long service leave, others get 4/5 of their pay for 5 years and some just save a little nest egg to tied themselves over for 12 months.
    For the person doing this its great.
    For the company and the staff who can't employ a full time replacement not so much. Its bad for the the young work force needing security so they can get a home loan and the disruption to the status quo and "the team" is not quantifiable.
    This is very common in the education system and it isn't fair on the students doing their HSC either. Remembering year 12 starts in term 4 which means the students have to change teachers at a really critical time in their studies.
    Perhaps if there were a few clauses in this scenario. i.e. You can't come back to your cruisie executive position and you can't leave clients in the breach and expect to pick them up again on your return etc etc.
    Not a Bludger
    27th Oct 2017
    12:50pm
    This bloke has to be on substances - how more divorced from reality could he be?

    Mind you he only ever worked as a teacher and a WA civil servant - no experience at all of the value add world where people make things, add value, employ people and do things like make sales, takes risks, make a profit and save for their retirement etc from the sweat of their brow.

    Canberra is even more rarified.

    There is no opportunity in the real world to just go walkabout with or without money.
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    12:58pm
    So what job would you see this as an impossibility remembering mothers of young babies do it all the time as do many pre-retirees who can't handle the full on pace in their sixties.
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    1:25pm
    Mind you - there is nothing wrong with = lowering expectations, having a serious reality check, doing a lot of research and then some more and of course, finally, find time to be grateful that you are still here (at ANY age) to do this ;)
    Not a Bludger
    27th Oct 2017
    5:16pm
    At a guess, heyyybob, your “research” would involve many hours playing around on Google or similar looking at the answers you want to see.
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    5:39pm
    Ah, yes NAB. Using Google and other engines finding what I'm looking for PLUS consulting my 'contacts' in the travel and aviation industry. All that, plus a few years experience has saved me money in the past and will in the future, resulting in more affordable pleasures ;) Happy Trails :)
    Old grey
    27th Oct 2017
    1:30pm
    Tried doing this when I was a bit older (62). Didn't have much leave owing, just left and went to Europe for a couple of months. When I came back, confidently applied for several jobs in an area I had worked in for more than 20 years, didn't even get an interview for 6 months, and when i did was told that they doubted i could use the computer systems being utilised. Does this minister realise that, unless you have at least two degrees and a mountain of expertise, most companies won't even look at anyone over 55, and those that do are only looking at paying minimum wage. About time for a reality check, and get rid of the dead wood in clown cuckoo land (aka Parliament House Canberra).
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    1:50pm
    He doesn't want you to quit your job - he wants the employer to hold your job for 12 months.
    Puglet
    27th Oct 2017
    1:47pm
    My advice is that unless a 65 year old person has essential skills it’d be very unwise to take a year’s unpaid leave. Wyatt seems to think we are as stupid as he is. The minute the older worker shuts the door they will be replaced by a kid who can be paid much less. Solo women have on average 130,000 dollars of super so if they take unpaid leave they’ll spend about 20%. Increasingly older men and women don’t own their home outright so I am unsure how this bloke thinks they’ll pay the rent/mortgage plus health insurance etc. There should be an IQ test before politicians take up their seats. BTW this man will have about 2 million dollars to retire on!
    Rosret
    27th Oct 2017
    1:54pm
    I don't think he intends you to access super. It would be a privilege for those who have saved a reserve, stored long service leave or had 4/5 pay for 5 years.
    The idea is that your position and status would be held for 12 months.
    Puglet
    27th Oct 2017
    2:04pm
    Roset you are correct. Less than 10% or the population fit into the category you describe. This group can take retirement and will have money to choose their next life. They won’t need gratuitous advice from Wyatt. We should be most concerned about the 40% or so who live day to day - the government just ignores the majoriy.
    Rae
    27th Oct 2017
    6:11pm
    It is only for those who do save as opposed to spending everything each pay. There are about 40% of the population in all wage groups that can save consistently and control impulse spending.
    Those people deserve the gap year if they can afford it.
    miker
    27th Oct 2017
    1:55pm
    Perhaps Minister Wyatt got the idea from that special group of people who enjoy non stop Dreamtime Gap Years, you know, those 450,000 people who cost the Australian Taxpayer $33 billion a year or 6% of our GDP
    KSS
    27th Oct 2017
    2:09pm
    Another misrepresentations the Gap Year for seniors suggestion. Did Kaye just miss the continuation of the sentence that clearly says the person taking the time off has a job to go back to or as usual simply ignoring any favourable comment that does not fit her agenda?

    What about the positives of this suggestion? That for example perhaps an inexperienced unemployed person may be able to get some work for that year clocking up experience much like people do during maternity leave? There is no suggestion of any restriction on movement or even working during the gap year so people could travel and pick up work as they go.you don't need to be 18 to do casual work just not very fussy.

    Instead of dismissing this out of hand at least consider possibilities. I seriously doubt if Mr Shorten had suggested anything like this that there would have been such snidey comments with no justification. It may not be a workable suggestion at the end of the day but less knee jerk reaction and more intelligent thought would be more convincing before rejecting everything.
    miker
    27th Oct 2017
    2:22pm
    Not a realistic suggestion for a 60 yr to disappear for 12 months only to let a younger aggressively ambitious aspirant white ant the incumbent
    Gap years might be ok on the way in to the workforce but not on the way out where every dollar accrued is vital
    MD
    27th Oct 2017
    2:30pm
    Damn! Ken would have to be feeling miffed, at age 65 it seems he's missed the opportunity to test his theory. Not to worry Ken, assuming reelection at the next side show you'll then be home and hosed yourself and heading for a comfortable retirement whilst contemplating the numerous 'offers' for board positions or lobby groups - IF you can hang in there, the numbers are gettin wobbly afterall eh?

    Ken is obviously fully conversant with the degree of vim and vigour our 60yo bodies have in reserve, well he would wouldn't he ? What physically demanding job did he manage to hold down prior to boarding the gravy train ? At 65 I suppose it's only a matter of time before
    he'll think about stepping down, the worry of which already seems to be affecting his judgement.

    For those that see some merit in his advise then it's a matter for them to negotiate directly with their employer. Failing amicable satisfaction then it's business as usual and neither party should be coerced as a result of some pimping precious pollies' thought bubble. POP!
    heyyybob
    27th Oct 2017
    2:35pm
    :D
    Farside
    27th Oct 2017
    3:26pm
    I would be happy to take a gap year or three if it could be funded from past taxes paid.
    ex PS
    27th Oct 2017
    3:31pm
    What a good idea, however most of us have the opportunity to do this by utilizing our long service leave. I did it and decided there was more to life than turning up to work five days a week and putting up with the BS contrived by those above.
    I would say that most of us have had ample time to consider our futures by the time we reach retirement age and do not require advise from someone who has probably not done an honest days work in his life.
    Nice try, but why not try and come up with an original idea, maybe one that is relevant and useful.
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2017
    4:24pm
    I know a fellow who did the same at 40 and decided that there was more to life than work. That was 30 odds years ago and today he is a very wealthy man.
    ex PS
    28th Oct 2017
    11:58am
    AS did I and I decided to spend the rest of my life doing exactly what I wanted when I wanted. If I want to get more involved in making money, I expand my share portfolio, if I don' feel like bothering with that sort of thing I move my money into my managed fund.

    Being retired does not mean stagnation, it is just an adjustment in your usage of time.
    Needy not Greedy
    27th Oct 2017
    3:49pm
    Maybe an extension to this out of touch dickheads plan would be to fill the 'Gap' with one of the mongrels that are flaunting the system and falsely claiming a disability or unemployment benefit, so they can try out working for a year and see if they like it?
    Charlie
    27th Oct 2017
    5:07pm
    So somebody has to fill the gap when you are gone. Since you are so old, well why not keep the other person on. This idea comes from going to school, then university and taking a year for work experience or to decide on a career. At the other end of life its not the same.

    So how do you fund this year with no pay, do you just back pack like a uni student.

    If a person is in the public service there may be provisions already, for leave on Half pay.

    So in addition to "maternity leave" a person could take "uncertainty leave"

    This has got to be the worst year ever for kooky ideas. I may need to get my life terminated, I don't belong here anymore.
    Rae
    27th Oct 2017
    6:19pm
    These days they don't fill the gap Charlie. They just expect the poor bastards left standing to do everything. It's called flexibility now and comes about by destroying worker's lobby groups but encouraging employer's lobby groups.
    Charlie
    27th Oct 2017
    7:56pm
    Then the position disappears when its shown they can get by without it, but re-emerges later as a position for a cronie.
    Triss
    27th Oct 2017
    6:23pm
    Ken Wyatt doesn't seem to realise that if he takes a year off he still gets paid and his job is still there for him at the end. Not for the rest of us.
    Baby Huey
    27th Oct 2017
    8:20pm
    It obvious the Minister has changed his name by deed poll to Frank Wit.
    vincent
    27th Oct 2017
    8:21pm
    It all depends what you want out of life. Sold out at the age of 50 and retired. Been busier than ever put my skills to good use in various organizations. Life is not all about money as long as you are comfortable and that is a personal thing. Don't get steamed up about the galah's in Canberra after all the population get the politicians they deserve. They voted them in. That's democratie warts and all.

    28th Oct 2017
    3:38pm
    It’s a great idea especially for those who are not sure they are ready to retire yet. They can get a feel for what it would be like , and if they love it , carry on. If not - go back to work with the benefit of the year off and being able to plan better for eventual retirement when one is ready
    Boof
    28th Oct 2017
    7:16pm
    He obviously lives in Canberra. Most earn 3 X (rest of Oz) down there, for relevent jobs.
    Wstaton
    30th Oct 2017
    9:19am
    Didn't hear much of this in the news. I think the newsies are getting thought bubble fatigue.

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