Has retirement become a dirty word for 60-year-olds?

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Retirement, for many, is drifting further into the future.

The YourLifeChoices Insights Survey 2018, which drew almost 7000 respondents, has found that most people are not planning to fully retire until they are at least 70.

In response to the question, If you are not yet retired, at what age do you think you will retire?, 20 per cent said it would be after they turned 70, 12.7 per cent said 70 and 17 per cent said 65.

The biggest influence on the decision-making was health (33 per cent), followed by work availability (24.6 per cent) and savings (24.4 per cent).

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveys over the past 14 years have noted marked increases in responses relating to retirement age. In 2004-05, 48 per cent said they intended to retire at 65 or over, in 2012-13 that figure had jumped to 66 per cent and in 2014-15 to 71 per cent.

The economic advantages for both the individual and the nation are obvious, but are there also health benefits in staying in the workforce longer?

Scientific research leans toward yes, particularly for people who find work fulfilling and not physically taxing or stressful.

“What is the benefit of work? Activation of the brain and activation of social networks may be critical,” says Nicole Maestas, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.

Mark Truitt, 70, a long-time educator in Florida, says: “I’ve seen a number of teachers who retire and don’t do anything they think is of value, and they go into decline pretty fast.”

Academic studies of the correlation between health and working into the senior years say that work offers a routine and purpose, a reason for getting up in the morning, an incentive to invest in your health.

And the workplace is a social environment, a community that supports and stimulates.

“In the beginning when you retire, it might feel more like a holiday,” says Gabriel Heller-Sahlgren, the director of research at the London Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education. “But after that, we see more of a ‘use it or lose it’ effect.”

If a job can contribute to a healthier older population, then policy-makers should make it easier for older workers to engage in paid work, Mr Heller-Sahlgren says, adding: “This does not mean politicians should force people to work until they die. They should remove disincentives to working.”

The academic studied a series of health, ageing and retirement surveys,  looking for  the short- and long-term effects of retirement on mental health. He found retirement had no short-term impact on mental health, but negative effects started to appear after the first few years of stopping work.

Economists Axel Börsch-Supan and Morten Schuth at the Munich Centre for the Economics of Ageing say: “Even disliked colleagues and a bad boss, we argue, are better than social isolation because they provide cognitive challenges that keep the mind active and healthy.”

Linda Fried, a dean at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, says: “Volunteering and paid work produce better physical and mental health. People need purpose. They need a reason to get up in the morning.”

Are you planning on working full or part-time past 65?

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Written by Janelle Ward


Total Comments: 20
  1. 0

    Retired after 58 years of age. Lived on my own money without Govt input till I reached
    pension age; never regretted it and now I can see I did the right thing with the past and present Govts punishing achievers. By all means if you like your job keep going but do
    not complain about losing the retirement benefits later.

    • 0

      Cowboy Jim….Good for you. I think those that work till they drop are foolish. There is more to life than work. All my retired friends are very happy and have the time to look after themselves. Workers never have enough spare time for themselves.

      I am tired of all the propoganda around trying to convince people to work till they drop.

    • 0

      Yes, I agree it is propaganda. There are some very demanding physical positions that are not for 70 year olds,unless we’re trying to force them into an early grave. I was fortunate to be able to retire at 60. Don’t miss running other people’s agendas one bit!

    • 0

      Good on you as there is a lot more to life than swapping tome for dollars.

  2. 0

    Your life is all about luck…your health starts to tank at 25 and slowly goes down from there,

    • 0

      Glen48….I agree…Life is a lottery ticket…It all depends on the time, place of birth, family your inherited genes and choices made.

      Each of us is an individual and not treating the masses as such is sheer stupidity.

    • 0

      Agree, Gken48, about the luck factor.
      This article foolishly concludes that people can work till 70 – as it depends on health, suitable work availability and financial strength all being NECESSARY – having all 3 is luck.

      The best incentive the Govt could do is to give Universal Pension (based on years of Residence – say min 15) to all at Age 65, without any Assets or Income Tests. Then, all will have incentives to earn and save whatever they want, and not get punished as in the current system – with Govt reaping benefits back in more taxes (besides massive saving of Centrelink costs).

    • 0

      No people should not work after retirement age as I for one can’t stand dealing with old fools past their used by date.

    • 0

      I’d rather an old fool than a selfish young idiot – and there are plenty of them stuffing up lives by doing their job badly.

    • 0

      No such thing as luck and if there is I certainly haven’t found it. Good management of all things is the way to go where major problems to some become minor inconviences to you.

      OGR it is not who you deal with it is how you deal with them. Selfish young idiots are the easiest ones to deal with where as old fool don’t know when to give up even when proven wrong.

  3. 0

    There is no compulsory retirement age, it was abolished by Hawke. We now have a situation where peole can continue to work in their long term josbs for years past the now eligable pension age. This means people are not moving on causing more youth unemployement, and possibly creating more part time employement. Contributing to this is continuious changes to superannuation by the government (both sides). If retirees could have some certiany in their financial position I do not think this continuious working rage would continue.

  4. 0

    Retirement #**[email protected]!#…. I want somebody to give me half day work, but it doesn’t exist.

    Over 65 and not well enough to work full days.

  5. 0

    I am 68 years of age and happy to work 3 days a week in administration for which I am well qualified. Rule 1 never state your age on any enquiry. If you are lucky enough to get an interview watch their faces when they first see you!!!!

  6. 0

    Retired at 55 and wish I had done it years earlier now. Had a great time spending as much as I could and gave rest to my grandkids so I could old age pension at 65. I wouldn’t have time to work now as I am way too busy enjoying life.

  7. 0

    Retired from teaching at 55 just before Jeff Kennett gave most my age and older the boot. Had already taken up woodworking and woodturning as a hobby.
    Glad I retired then because my wife and I were in good health for travelling. Now 80 both my wife and I have had some serious health problems in the last 6 years. At least we had 19 years to enjoy the things we wanted to do. Money wise we are still only on a part pension.we live comfortably, not extravagantly.

  8. 0

    244%? Maybe go back to year 7 and learn about percentages Janelle.

  9. 0

    Still working at 70. Had cancer three times and 12 months of Chemo in total. Nothing wrong with staying involved with the business world. Everyone to their own I guess.

    • 0

      Spot on inextratime, I just turned 71, still working and love it.
      Keeps my mind active and it give me the opportunity to pass on my skills and knowledge to the next generation.



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