The growing ‘unretirement’ trend

Retirement is meant to be permanent, but many people end up changing their minds about leaving the workforce, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS workforce figures from 2016-2017 reveal that 177,500 Australians, aged 45 years and older, who had previously hung up their work clothes for good have either already returned to work or were planning to do so.

The stats say that nearly half (42 per cent) of these people were going back to work for financial reasons, while 32 per cent stated they were simply “bored and needed something to do”.

Just under 19 per cent of people said they returned to the workforce because an interesting opportunity came up, around 10 per cent said they returned because an employer or business asked them back and another 10 per cent returned because their health had improved.

With women currently experiencing a 42 per cent gender pay gap in retirement savings, it is perhaps not that surprising that women lead the way when it comes to ‘unretiring’, accounting for 108,200 of the total number of people who returned to work.

Women were also more likely to return to work because of a financial need, 47 per cent compared to just 34 per cent of men.

Men were more likely than women to abandon their retirement due to boredom or a need to find something to do, 48 per cent compared to 25.5 per cent.

Women, though, were also much more likely to return to the workforce because of a turnaround in their health situation than men, 13.5 per cent compared to just 3.3 per cent of men.

With the Work Bonus set for an increase on 1 July, the number of people who might be tempted to come out of retirement could increase further.

The Pension Work Bonus will be expanded from 1 July 2019, with $300 per fortnight to be excluded from the income test instead of $250. And, for the first time, it will be extended to include earnings from self-employment.

A pensioner will be able to earn $7800 per year through self-employment without an impact on his or her Age Pension. This is in addition to the income-free area, which is currently $300 a fortnight (combined) for a pensioner couple.

Have you ever considered coming out of retirement? Have you ‘unretired’? What was the major reason for re-entering the workforce?

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Written by Ben

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