Why would you work until 70?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s backflip on raising the Age Pension age to 70 has been met with praise and criticism.

Economic experts believe Mr Morrison may be sacrificing Australia’s long-term fiscal future for short-term popularity gains among older voters nearing retirement.

“If you’re a government behind in the polls this is a standout thing to do,” said Deloitte Access Economics analyst Chris Richardson.

“It’s popular and it doesn’t cost you a cent for a very long time. But it’s poor policy. Every day we do nothing on this front is a day in which we put an increasing tax burden on a smaller slice of the population.”

In the latest Newspoll, the Coalition suffered its 40th straight loss. On a two-party preferred basis, Labor is now at 56 per cent to the Coalition’s 44 per cent, meaning the Government could expect to lose 21 seats if an election were held today.

However, with a rating of 42 per cent to Bill Shorten’s 36 per cent, Mr Morrison is the preferred prime minister. So, any favour he can curry from older voters nearing retirement will only help him to mitigate the looming election disaster he could face.

While many may believe that the consensus for Australians working until 70 years of age may be a resounding “no”, the results of the YourLifeChoices Friday Flash Poll say otherwise.

When asked what types of incentives would encourage them to work until 70:

  • 30 per cent said they would be prepared to work longer if they were given sizeable tax breaks
  • 12 per cent said making tax-free contributions to super from the age of 65 would keep them in the workforce longer
  • nine per cent said medical cost incentives, such as subsidised health cover would suffice
  • nine per cent also said that subsidised energy, rent and council rates would be enough.

All told, 60 per cent of those surveyed would be prepared to work until the age of 70 provided there were certain caveats in place, while just 30 per cent said they wouldn’t work until 70 under any circumstances.

The remaining 10 per cent had various opinions on the matter, some strong and some poignant …

The following are the opinions of YourLifeChoices members and not necessarily those of the writer or publisher. Some have been edited for style and grammar purposes.

“There are others who believe that working until 70 years of age is appropriate for some individuals. You nailed it here: ‘SOME’. I wouldn’t see boilermakers, bricklayers or concreters working at 70!” ~ Aussiefrog

“Once you reach the age of 65 and want to continue to work then pay zero income tax. That would have encouraged me to keep working if I was able.” ~ WideBayMike

“I retired at 60 (self-funded) and in my mid 70s would still work gratis doing something worthwhile and making a difference. Virtually all retirees have a whole load of experience and knowledge to contribute but are generally offered menial, routine mind-numbing jobs. Yet we have a skills shortage and need to import skills, even though we already have them? We have hundreds of thousands of kids leaving school unable to read, inarticulate without any life experience and directionless, which could potentially be a bigger drain on society than the aged due to crime, etc. We have councils, businesses and governments that seem unable to make basic sensible decisions and could use some common-sense advice. Loads of untapped mentoring capacity among the retired. Surely, if they are serious about exploiting our resources, state or federal governments could put together a scheme to better utilise these brains and experience?” ~ Cosmo

“My perception of working till 70 would be, Age Pension at 65 and the real opportunity to actually earn what I am permitted to earn, on top of the pension. This would involve the unions opening the door on half-day employment and businesses being able to employ me two, half days a week. This would allow me to afford running a car and visit relatives in another state. The over 60 period is a dreadful waste of life when people are supposed to enjoy sitting in a rocking chair all day.” ~ Charlie

“People should be encouraged to work for as long as they want … assuming they are capable physically and mentally. This enables personal superannuation to accumulate and last longer. That said, from age 65, senior citizens still working should be able to obtain a senior’s rebate on their tax return to offset council rates and utilities that retired people can claim. Also, the Government should waive stamp duty on senior citizens downsizing their home. Generally, the Australian Government and environment does little to transition ageing citizens from their working life to retirement.” ~ NeDaPa

“Rebate on tax up to the rate of their deferred pension? Sounds a good idea to me.” ~ TREBOR

“Worked full-time to age 77. Lucky to have an office job. Working this long enabled me to contribute to my superannuation much longer than I would have been able to. Also made life a lot easier as I no longer had a mortgage to pay. Would not be easy for people doing manual jobs when they get older, mainly because of health problems. Didn’t get any rate rebates until I retired. If you earn over a certain amount or more than a number of hours a week/fortnight you do not qualify for a lot of concessions either. Downside also was only having four weeks annual leave. But otherwise I enjoyed my job and was happy to work to 77. Would still be there if they would have let me work part time.” ~ Priscilla

“Bring back the Pensioner Bonus Scheme! No incentive to keep working now. So, the Government says you can earn $250 per fortnight without it affecting the pension? Well, if you do work, any wage, plus the pension, is taxed! So, you are slugged twice. Having just done it, not worth it, so chucked it in. Much better to do the occasional babysitting, or dog minding.” ~ sunnyOz

“Absolutely nothing would have encouraged me to work any longer than I had to. As full-time carer for a partner with a terminal illness, I was astounded when a Centrelink employee suggested I should be able to manage some part-time work! My caring role was 24/7, especially the last few months. Yes, more income would be nice, but I prefer the relative peace of mind. Don’t have to dance to anyone’s tune.” ~ patti

“I’m 76 and still working. Although last year I cut back to about half time and I think I will go on for a few more years yet. Keeps my mind active and I enjoy meeting the people from all walks of life that I interact with on a daily basis. I think the Government should increase the retirement age to 70 within the next five years, but also increase the incentives for older persons to stay in the workforce.” ~ GFW

“What would keep me working till 70? Doing something I enjoy. Having friends around me. Being financially secure. Having time to travel where and when I wish. Keeping fit through exercise that is enjoyable. Oh wait, this only happened when I retired. I’m never going back to work.” ~ PerthSV

“The only job I would be prepared to do after 65 is writing reviews for TripAdvisor or other review sites as I travel the world on my pension.” ~ Billy’s bonkers

•••

Tzuki seems to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the real issue of older Australians working later in life:

“I would work until I am 70 IF SOMEONE ACTUALLY EMPLOYED ME. I was retrenched at 60 and no one wants to employ someone old enough to be their mother even though we are very capable of doing the job just as well as the younger ones! Three and a half years later still no job. I’ve just about given up after even going for care jobs and cleaning jobs.” ~ Tzuki

What would encourage you to work until the age of 70? What do you think of these ‘suggestions’? Do you share any of these opinions?

Related articles:
Plan to lift pension age scrapped
Should you have to work until 70?
Concerns over Age Pension push

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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