The future of retirement
December 2019 – By Kim Taylor
There was a time when the normal path was working through to middle age, followed by retirement. But as we see pension age increasing, and Australians feeling less secure about their financial futures, retirement feels like a less realistic prospect for younger Australians.
AustraliaSCAN reveals, when asked about retirement, over half (51%) of those under 50 envisage that they will work for as long as they are able. This is compared to 31% of those aged 50-59 and 12% of those aged 60+.
However, very few Australians feel very confident they will have sufficient funds for their retirement (12%). Half of us agree that we are ‘concerned’ about having sufficient funds (51%).
How we think about work is changing, with flexible work becoming a more prevalent topic. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, given how many of us do not see an end to working life.
% Agree they will work for as long as they are able, AustraliaSCAN 2019
Following a long career in police force, my now 86 year old grandfather has been retired since his mid-50s. That is 30 years of retirement. My parents, now in their late 60s, entered retirement in the last few years and have started exploring Australia.
As I enter my late 30’s, I have started to wonder if retirement could be a lifestyle that I only ever have spectator access to. And while that remains to be seen, my partner and I have started thinking about such an eventuality, and preparing ourselves for work in later life.
And perhaps I’m not alone in this thinking.
When asked about retirement, over half (51%) of those under 50 envisage that they will work for as long as they are able, as opposed to thinking they will just stop work altogether. This is compared to 31% of those aged 50-59 and 12% of those aged 60+.
And while this sounds like doom and gloom, for me, it has actually been a catalyst for a mindset of ‘living for now’. Instead of waiting for retirement to travel and explore, as my parents have done, myself and many of my peers now think more actively about ways to break up what could be a lifetime of work. While this may be difficult to explain to my grandfather, who would argue that job continuity is a must, for me it’s not uncommon to encounter ‘career break’ as a current status on LinkedIn. In the face of feeling like 54% of other Australians do – that I won’t have sufficient funds for my retirement – and anticipating that the pension may be a relic of the past, I have started to look at work not as simply as one phase in my life, but as a permanent fixture in my lifestyle. As such, I need to think differently about what that work looks like for me.