Intergenerational Report says Australians to work longer

Opinion: Public expectations with retirement and living longer are in a period of transition

Report says Australians to work longer

WELL I’ve finally reached the proverbial three score years and ten as mentioned in Psalm 90.

It is the scriptural statute of limitations. After age 70, I am supposed to be a time-expired man and become an honorary member of the community. This I am not.

In recent months, a public debate has raged in Australia surrounding the rising retirement age. Labor increased the retirement age to 67 and the Liberals are proposing age 70 by 2035.

Forecasts predict that by 2050 the ratio of working age to retired aged Australians will fall from 5:1 (in 2010) to 3:1.

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ACTU president Ged Kearney believes the Government is out of touch with the reality of life for Australian workers and predicts it will lead to grandmothers and grandfathers joining the dole queue.

In my case and for many of my friends, this could not be further from the truth.

Working to age 70 and beyond does not have to be drudgery or a sentence to toil in the salt mines. It is about staying engaged, alive and purposeful. It is also a good way to keep a financial safety net in place just in case.

The ballooning number of older workers highlights a retirement revolution. As people live longer, public expectations with retirement are in a period of transition. For many aged 65 and older, it is a positive choice.

Employers are realising that older workers offer a good work ethic.

Employers are realising that older workers offer a good work ethic.

One of the keys is finding age-friendly employers that respect older workers and offer job flexibility options. Employers are realising that older workers offer a good work ethic, are punctual, willing to work on weekends, get on well with customers and rarely complain. Businesses that offer flexible employment options to older workers see them as a good investment.

I have enjoyed a career and lifestyle transition with multiple options and experienced no difficulties adjusting to new work requirements. I continue to work 20 to 30 hours a month but at a different pace. Older workers like me from diverse career backgrounds find employment such as promotional or customer service workers in large retail chains or shopping malls, in hardware chains, in coffee shops and food outlets or conduct field interviews for research firms. I am registered with five different employers who offer me work opportunities. My life is now a mix of working, learning, relaxing, and trying new things as well as a time of growth and reinvention.

For those who want to work, but are lucky enough not to need the income, volunteering is a wonderful option. Volunteering is a great way to stay active while making a significant contribution to a worthy organisation. Volunteering opportunities abound in every community.

But it’s not all work with no play. My wife and I are avid snow skiers and travel to Canada for four weeks to ski each year. We also manage to enjoy a driving holiday somewhere within Australia annually.

Retirement used to signal the end of a productive life for workers, but more and more, retirement is now a transition point for beginning a new phase of your life. For those approaching retirement, now is the time to develop a strategy to work fewer hours, try a new career or business, learn new skills, further your education, give back through volunteering and most importantly, enjoy life.

Ian Wallace is a Brisbane freelance writer and retiree

Source: Courier Mail

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