retirement timing, retirement income, preservation age

Retirement timing is critical:

But is it within your control?

Two years ago we asked you to share your experience of choosing the best time to leave work and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

We knew, based upon Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) findings, that reasons to retire are many and varied. And that some are discretionary and some are not.

As we’ve reported previously, according to the ABS, about half retirees leave full time work when they reach Preservation Age or the age when they are entitled to the Age Pension. But another third will leave due to reasons of health or the inability to get work. And then there are those who will stop work in order to care for a loved one. Women are four times as likely as men to do this.

Your feedback confirmed these broad trends but added another concerning reason to the list – that of ageism. For many of our members who were keen and fit enough to keep working, discrimination due to age meant that they were forced to stop working much earlier than they had planned.

A comment from Sandra is typical of the experience of many:

‘Like some others, I retired when I was retrenched after 30 plus years. Like others, ageism was an obstacle to even getting a job at Coles or Woollies (I was looking for a non-desk job). Kids and university students are preferred, particularly because under 21-year-olds are on a lower pay rate. I was lucky after nine months of forced retirement, when a young interviewer saw ‘work ethic’ and submitted my application for hiring. It is hard to keep looking and easy to give up. Volunteering helped, not just mentally, but also for references and friendships.’

Since October 2021 times have changed. The ongoing Covid pandemic and supply line shortages mean that there are skills shortages in most industries. Older workers are now more highly valued, so much so that the Work Bonus has been significantly increased. So, we wonder, are older workers still finding it hard to keep working after age 67? And is this age a useful marker of when you wish to retire anyway?

And, given the steady increases in interest rates (nine months in a row), do older Australians now need to work longer to pay down a mortgage they had previously thought would be paid off by now?

Today we ask you to take five minutes to fill in the February Retirement Pulse which asks you about your retirement plans or experience. Which reason will guide your timing? And if you have already stepped back from full time work, was this your own choice, or did an external factor mean the decision was forced upon you?

We would love you to join in the conversation and help us to better understand your needs for a well-timed and securely funded post-work life

Take the survey