14th Sep 2017

Is working longer the key to a healthier retirement?

happy couple

Proposed changes by the Government to lift the Age Pension eligibility age to 70 continue to prove unpopular with Australians, yet it is one of the zombie measures of legislation from Budget 2014/15 that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refuses to kill off.

An estimated 375,000 Australians who are now in their late 50s would be affected by the legislation should it be passed, with future generations having more time to prepare for a longer working life.

While the thought of slaving away for an extra three years is just too much to bear for many Australians, research from the US indicates that working longer may actually be beneficial.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the rather lengthily titled Oregon State University study – Association of retirement age with mortality: a population-based longitudinal study among older adults in the USA – concluded that ‘Early retirement may be a risk factor for mortality and prolonged working life may provide survival benefits among US adults.

The group of 2956 participants was split into healthy and unhealthy – as defined by whether or not health played a part in the decision to retire. In the ensuing 18-year monitoring period, 12 per cent of healthy retirees compared to 25 per cent of unhealthy retirees died. The resulting calculation is that being one year older at retirement equalled an 11 per cent lower risk of mortality. For those healthy retirees who waited until 67, the risk of dying was 21 per cent lower than if they had retired at 65.

The trend of working longer continues, with those who waited to age 70 having a lower risk of 44 per cent and a staggering 56 per cent lower risk if working to 72.

Even for those who were classed as unhealthy, there was a lower risk of death associated with working longer. Working to 66 resulted in a reduced risk of nine per cent, while working to 67, there was a 17 per cent lower risk; and at 70, a 38 per cent lower risk. As for those in the unhealthy group who work to 72, the risk is as low as those who are healthy – 56 per cent.

But before you abandon your plans for early retirement, let’s indulge in a reality check.

A 2015 report – Going the distance … working longer, living healthier – commissioned by financial company AMP and undertaken by Canberra University’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) has found that people will simply be too sick to work by the time they reach qualifying age.

Even if health isn’t an issue, retaining or finding a job won’t be easy, with two thirds of men aged between 65 and 69, and 79 per cent of women in the same age group, forecast to be out of the workforce by 2035.

The report found that even the current retirement age of 65 isn’t achievable for many, with the average retirement age now 63; and 83 per cent of men and 92 per cent of women over 65 no longer working.

According to the report, the participation of those aged between 60 and 69 will only increase slightly by 2035, the year by which the pension age will be 70. It is forecast that the increased participation at this age will be one per cent for men and three per cent for women. In regards to health, the report predicts that 25 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women will be too sick to work by the time they reach 70.

Healthy people are considered twice as likely than those in poor health to work in old age. Modelling shows that only a third of Australian men currently in their 40s and early 50s will have the same level of health in their 60s. And for women, nearly half will have poor health by 2035.

Post high school qualifications also play a contributing factor – with 50 per cent still being employed between the ages of 60–69.

Related articles:
Golden rules of early retirement
My husband works… should I claim an Age Pension?



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Old grey
21st Sep 2017
Try getting a new job after 60. Unless you're extremely qualified, or are prepared to do whatever for minimum wages, good luck. Most employers don't want anyone who has significant life experiences, doesn't have a mortgage (so they're reliant on their wages), and knows what should be done and how.
21st Sep 2017
Our politicians can retire at 60. Why don't the hypocrites work till 70? Considering they don't clean up after themselves let alone do their jobs properly.
21st Sep 2017
jackie anyone can retire at 60 if they want to, or 55 or 45 or any age they want. The only restriction in place is not related to retirement at all but to applying for a aged pension. If you do not need that then you can retire when you want. Nothing special about politicians on that score.
21st Sep 2017
I noticed that the author failed to include his/her name. I wonder why. Maybe because this sounds like the rantings of one the Fuhrer, one T. Abbott.
Nice to include a whole pile of statistics but perhaps the author of this doctrine should have asked bricklayers, plumbers, concretors as well as a whole pile of other workers what they think about such an idea. Not as though everybody has a cushy office job.
And then as mentioned above by Old Grey how many older Australians are going to be given a job in a country where employing Australians has become a dirty word?
Don't get me started.
21st Sep 2017
Old Grey I agree with you! We are supposed to work longer but I was retrenched at 60 because of company take-over, got no payout because the family business owners preferred to keep me "casual for 4 days a week" for 8 years, and I just can't get a job! I have had 80 + interviews but the interviewers are always 30 - 40 years old and one of them even told me that she was looking for a woman with school aged children, and a friend even said to me that she wouldn't employ her mother if she was looking for a worker.
So I am tired of being knocked back and disappointed.
22nd Sep 2017
The whole idea of increasing Pension age to 70 absolutely stinks when people cannot have jobs, even if they are healthy & able. Besides that, how dare politicians try to stuff everyone else, while they have nicely feathered their own nests for retirement.
Jackie: Agree with your sentiments. See below the FACTS, and ignore the right-winger (KSS) trying to protect politicians image:

Link to see what current (new MPs since 2004) pollies get:

The current system allows them access to GREAT pensions at 55-60 years (latter age limit being phased in by 2025), with NO ASSETS or INCOME TESTS EITHER, after a mere 8 years service, and STARTING at $92,500 based on 50% of salary of $185,000 (now increased further - not sure to what), and increasing with years of service) - FOR LIFE. Also, they can have additional pensions if they are Ministers, etc. No justification whatsoever for their special pensions!
21st Sep 2017
I'm doomed. I retired at 55 and will never work again.
21st Sep 2017
Yes and every day we live that we don't work we get 8 more hours to spend on ourselves .
21st Sep 2017
I remember you
You're the one who travels cattle class dressed in a singlet and thongs
Poor co passengers
21st Sep 2017
What people wear is their own business.
Your memory is very poor Raphael. I never said I wear singlets and thongs on planes. All I said is that I wear casual clothes (shorts and a t-shirt) on a plane, as many people do.
You must be one angry and grumpy old bloke to get upset over someone wearing comfortable clothes on a plane.
21st Sep 2017
No you won't convince me working is a good idea. Stuff that !
21st Sep 2017
From my own personal experience, working an extra 5 years was both satisfying and rewarding. I loved my job and the thought of having to stop one day was absolutely terrifying, but I knew that sooner or later a decision had to be made. The mind was still willing, but the body was showing signs of wear and tear. So, upon turning 65 I decided to reduce my hours so I could a) test the ground and b) prepare for the big day. That somehow did the trick. Five years came and gone very quickly and now, already two years into retirement, I look back and wonder what the fuss was all about.
Yes, I do miss my day-to-day routine and the sense of fulfilment at the end of each day. Most of all, I do miss the fun of being with a great bunch of guys, who made each day feel shorter. However, the reality is that the body was no longer capable of performing as it used to and it was time to turn the page.
Retirement allows me more time to spend with my loved ones, to travel and do all the things I never had enough time to do before. Furthermore, it allows me to reflect and enjoy life. I think it is great and fulfilling working a few extra years if we feel able to, but never be afraid to say enough is enough when the time comes.
21st Sep 2017
I was one of the fortunate ones. Left school at 13 worked full time until 75. I enjoyed every day of it. I am still a bit lost after retirement as 62 years of shift work appears to unsettled the body clock.
Had a job offer a couple of weeks ago but declined. I feel I don't want to be like a footballer who plays one season too many.
The health is still good. I had all the childhood diseases, have a strong immune system as a result. The younger ones will probably suffer as a result of al the antibiotics and may and not last as well.
21st Sep 2017
Good on you Ahjay. I agree with pretty much all that. I guess we come from a much different era when one was proud to be employed and contribute to society rather than just take. As for health issues, well my friend, as we get older our bodies start to fall apart, no matter how fit we once were. So yeah, you're right it's pointless playing for another season. Only time will tell how the younger lot will survive. Don't forget that, even though we don't want to admit, thanks to all the pills and potions of today, statistically we live longer!
21st Sep 2017
I'm another lucky one who loved her job and didn't fully retire until 75, although for the final years I was only part-time. However, my job was stimulating (as well as being pretty active), and also topped up the retirement income too. I have to say that routine home duties and family duties are nowhere near as much fun as working was!
21st Sep 2017
Yeah, no thanks. Why live longer so you can work longer? Is that what it's about? I'd rather do other fun things (or choose not to do anything) even if I lose a year!
21st Sep 2017
Looking at the photo I can see why these pair want a job. If they don't leave the house they are going to strangle each other.
21st Sep 2017
And loving it..........
21st Sep 2017
I retired at 67. Got a job offer working 6 months in summer three years ago. Loved it and start again for the fourth year on Tuesday. I'm 74 now and will be 75 before season ends.
21st Sep 2017
... and a little luck goes a long way.
21st Sep 2017
Congratulations Theo1943 but I want to spend my remaining years spending time with family and friends instead of working till I cark it.
21st Sep 2017
Doing what Theo? That is the real question which those who want to work on need to answer.
21st Sep 2017
Heard of voluntary work? Things like meals on wheels, or driving disabled people to and from medical appointments etc. etc. I have close friends well into their 80s who are still actively involved helping others in the community. There are lots of things we can do, provided we are physically able of course.
22nd Sep 2017
Mick, I'm working as a fire hazard inspector for a Shire. Checking firebreaks and house protection zones for all residences to be compliant for the fire season. I am qualified for this by dint of 17 years work as an active volunteer fire brigade officer. I spend most of my time driving around inpecting properties and advising people of the why of the requirements, and sometimes enforcement with a fine. I'm basically self-supervised and I get 6 months off a year. It also pays over $1400 a week but cuts out most of our pension payment. Not a job for someone in failing health though, there's a lot of walking involved. I love it.
22nd Sep 2017
Trebor, some of that luck came my way because of 15 years of active volunteering as a fire fighter. Involving many weeks of training and attending hundreds of bush fires, while others were sound asleep, becoming a lieutenant and then captain of my local brigade.

I've been to fires in NSW, the WA north and south, spending weeks away from home. Luck tends to happen like that. Through hard work and dedication.
21st Sep 2017
This sounds like government propaganda to justify a draconian impost.
Guess they need the retirees entitlement to waste on other questionable policies.
21st Sep 2017
Maybe Herr Abbott was the author?
21st Sep 2017
Let's be honest. There's no right or wrong here. It's all relevant to what we do and why we are doing it. If you're good at what you do and love doing it, retirement is not an option. Slowing down is. But if you're caught in a boring and unfulfilling job and/or unhealthy environment, do your self a favourand just get out. Furthermore, if you are happy and can afford to just doing ubsolutely BUGGA All, go for it! Remember, there are three kinds of people: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happen...
21st Sep 2017
It depends on the type of job or industry that a person is in. Many of the tradesmen I know find it hard to keep doing their job from their 50s on. If they are lucky they land a position that doesn't require the same fitness as a 20 year old. Imagine hauling yourself up into roof cavities when you are 69. Some can, some can't. You don't have to be sick or disabled to find clambering over a roof hard at 60+. Long term issues like arthritis make some jobs harder and harder, backs wear out. Imagine trying to stand all day as your hips wear out.
21st Sep 2017
Yes keep going - save more for retirement
21st Sep 2017
Money is rewarding and reassuring, but it's not just about money. How much does one need to be happy anyway? The real reward and fulfilment come with achieving goals, helping others and for some is creating something. But we also have to face reality at some point and let a younger person carry on. Take time to smell the roses while we can...
21st Sep 2017
Sounds about right Raphael. Being wealthy you would want people to drop dead on the job and you would think it was 'unfair' that you contributed to pensions. That is your way of life and your mindset. And you wonder why many people come down on the rich. Such lovely people.
21st Sep 2017
You're very passive aggressive Mick
All in saying is work as long as you can do you do t have to rely too much or not at all on the pension
Benefit of this is you can have a comfortable retirement and also not be a burden on the younger generation
In other words , don't be selfish and just take the handout
21st Sep 2017
Fair comment.
As a self funded retiree I am no burden on my countrymen but and I get p'eed off when governments come after our small income whilst handing money out indiscriminately to both bludgers and the rich wanting tax cuts. And you?
21st Sep 2017
Never received much in handouts from government

I wish they'd consider universal pension though
Everyone deserves to be treated equally
Even people like you who works hard and invested wisely
21st Sep 2017
Apart from the most cockeyed stats I have ever seen ....what a lot of ......!
21st Sep 2017
21st Sep 2017
I am so fortunate in that I was able to work full-time to age 77 in a position which I had for 20 years. Sadly it is very difficult to mature workers to get employment these days. Also I had a job which was not labour intensive. Working this long enabled me to accumulate more super and enjoy years without a mortgage. This is not something everyone can do, especially people working in labour intensive positions. For me it has been wonderful!
21st Sep 2017
How can a fencer, brickie,roof tiler, floor tiler, plumbers still be out there in the hot sun & what about the backs [tilers ] they would be dead before they could retire.It would be ok for pencil pushers. Get Real .
21st Sep 2017
They can't....and the author of this piece of nonsense needs to identify who he/she is.
Sounds a lot like a feel good load of BS written by a public servant with a cushy office job who has never done a hard day's work in his life and who needs to justify his salary.
21st Sep 2017
Yes, grub, this piece is not realistic. If you worked in a shoe shop, maybe, but if you worked in a job that meant certain death if you had a dizzy spell [roof repair/tiler] then 75 is not going to be the age you still want to be working.
fish head
21st Sep 2017
I would like to know what "they" are going to do for those workers whose health and/or body is not up to the increased employment period.Will "they" expect them to apply for a Disability Pension? Good luck with that. I watched my late husband attempt to navigate that cesspool as his spine crumbled. Not pretty.
21st Sep 2017
retired at 66..I was healthy and had a couple of good years, happy i did, now 68 and suddenly not as healthy.If I still had to go to work I would be in ( big ) trouble! seems to be quite a leap from 65 to 70
21st Sep 2017
And what type of work did survey participants participate in? Not working 12hour alternating shifts manual labour using sledge hammers & crowbars & other hard yakka like me! It's difficult enough (but necessary) for me at 56 (& I'm reasonably fit & healthy) but I wont be capable of doing this until I'm 65 & totally impossible at 70! Besides, it's a well known fact that my type of shiftwork results in dying 10 years earlier so how about Malcom Turnbull come & try my job or similar for the remaining term of his life on my wages (or until he's 70 whichever comes first!). He is just an absolute arsehole!
In Outer Orbit
22nd Sep 2017
There are Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

A correlation is not a causation.

Healthier people are more likely to be inclined to work on in later life than unhealthy people. This does not mean that working longer confers any health benefit.

All the American research has demonstrated is that being healthy enough to keep working longer reduces risk of dying. That's right. Big news.
ex PS
23rd Sep 2017
A very good example of using the same statistics to arrive at two very different conclusions, and it can be done with most statistics. Never take statistical conclusions for granted, look to see which way they have deliberately been slanted.
22nd Sep 2017
I retired early and lived of my super until I turned 65 it wasn't my job that was the problem it was the fact it was taken me 2 hrs travel each way if I had to wait until 70 which is another 5 yrs instead of 4 hrs daily travel it would be 8 and many times I was close to falling asleep on the road
22nd Sep 2017
I ''retired'' early, but returned to work after a break. It was important for me to stop working for a while to support family members who were in crisis. Now, I'm loving working, but I'm disturbed by a proposal to delay pension eligibility for people who work in physically strenuous or mentally taxing jobs that render them unable to continue to 70. I'm also concerned for the quality of family life when grandparents have to keep working and can't help out with the grandkids or provide support for their children in times of crisis. And who will do voluntary work so badly needed in our communities? But I don't think politicians care about keeping families and communities strong anymore than they care about tired, sick or disabled workers who gave the best years of their lives working for low pay to build a nation. Sad!
ex PS
22nd Sep 2017
You should do what suits you, anyone who has survived long enough to be in this position is probably old enough to make their own choice. There is a big difference between making a choice to work longer and having the choice made for you by the government pulling your pension entitlement.
This is just another grab for money by government, to even think that a one size fits all approach to retirement is fair or even workable just shows how out of touch and incompetent this government is.
Would not be so bad if they weren't trying to take money off the retirees in order to give it to the wealthy as tax cuts.
25th Sep 2017
Absolutely, couldn't agree more. Depending on what one does, if he/she's willing and able to keep going after terirement age, so be it. It's great to be contributing and stay healthy at the same time. However, one size doesn't fit all!
25th Sep 2017
Yes it depends on the jobs you have done.
Tutoring young ones in all your skills including manual labour is a good way to get out and about.
Teaching others the unwritten skills of what to do and especially what NOT to do is the way society makes upwards progress.
I still design (part time) computer hardware and write software to keep my brain alive and get some pocket money.
2nd Oct 2017
risk of dying is 100% and cannot be reduced!

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