Posts Tagged “jobs for over 50’s”

It’s well and truly time to start thinking about how to make older workers feel welcome, experts say.

“Let’s get over our shock that older workers are going to be there longer and now ask the question about how can we make that useful and productive for everyone,” University of South Australia human resource management research professor Carol Kulik says.

“I think we really do need to be much more accommodating for older workers.”

The experts have some tips for both older workers and employers.



It’s going to be tough, it’s difficult, but the key thing is to keep at it,” says Greg Goudie, executive director of South Australian employment service DOME (Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise).


“They’ve got so much to offer. They probably don’t know how much they do have to offer,” Kronos Australia and New Zealand managing director Peter Harte says.

He advises learning how to write a resume and remarket yourself.

“You’d be surprised at the great things that person’s done that they haven’t really recorded.”


Mr Goudie says older workers shouldn’t be afraid to knock on doors, as 80 per cent of jobs that are filled are never advertised.


Mature-age people do have work experience skills, even if it’s stating that you’re able to work in a group with other people.

“A lot of employers hold that in high regard,” Mr Goudie says.


Skilled workers have a greater chance of staying in the workforce than unskilled workers, Mr Harte says.

He advises learning a different type of skill and make sure employers know they can be very flexible.


A lot of people who get to 50 and 55 and are out of work for a year can think it’s all too hard and `I’ll just give it up”, Mr Goudie says.



The federal government’s restart program – offering a $10,000 incentive to hire and retain job seekers aged 50 and over who’ve been receiving income support – may be counterproductive, Edith Cowan University psychology discipline leader Dr Eyal Gringart says.

“The message this policy sends is that older workers are inferior to younger workers and require special consideration.”


Organisations don’t signal a very strong openness to older job applicants, Prof Kulik says.

Their websites can have photos of bright, shiny young people and talk about fun and high-energy environments.

“It’s very easy I think for an older job seeker to think `that’s a signal, that’s a code for saying you don’t want somebody like me’. It’s a very discouraging process.”


Mature-age workers in organisations that adopt specific mature-age practices report high levels of engagement, Prof Kulik says.

The practices can be to help older workers upskill, having alternative career paths so an employee can move into phased retirement, take on a new work assignment or mentor junior people.


Organisations haven’t thought much about what kind of flexibility older workers need, Prof Kulik says.

It’s not start times or which days they work. It’s opportunities to take extended leaves of absence if they have to for health reasons or alternatively to travel, while maintaining their job security.


Professionals and managers tend to have more flexibility and autonomy, Prof Kulik says.

It’s not as clear what will happen for people with physically demanding jobs such as construction workers, miners and plumbers if flexibility isn’t offered, she says.

“Either we’re going to have to retrain them and do some kind of major career shift that works better or we’re going to have to be a lot more flexible about thinking about how work can be designed.”

Three women on beach with surfboards in Australia.

Three women on beach with surfboards in Australia. Photograph: Michael Hall/Getty Images

Australia’s notoriously labyrinthine $150bn (£75.8bn) welfare system last week underwent a major review, which essentially recommended an overhaul. However the Commonwealth-funded age pension was conspicuously absent. A politically sensitive topic, it was not in the scope set by the conservative Abbott government, despite it being the largest and most expensive part of Australia’s social security.Australians are living and working for longer. By 2013 the number of Australians aged 65 and over had increased by 533,000 from five years previously, and 17% of people aged 45 and older expected to work beyond the age of 70. In 2012-13, more than half of all retired men and a quarter of retired women named the government pension/allowance as their main source of income, a 45% increase on the number who told the Australian Bureau of Statistics they relied on it when they first retired. Superannuation payments (9.5% of a salary contributed by an employer) have been compulsory since 1992.State pensions are available to Australian residents over the age of 65 (67 by 2023) who have lived in Australia for at least 10 years (with some exceptions such as refugee status) and who meet income and asset requirements. In 2011, that translated to 60% of Australians of qualifying age. People who work past the pension age can still receive partial benefits or a lump sum under incentive schemes.Each fortnight pension recipients get a maximum payment of A$776.70 (£392) for singles, or A$585.50 (£296) if you are part of a couple. A payment supplement of up to A$63.50 (£32.13) a fortnight covers a pharmaceutical allowance, on top of Australia’s publicly funded universal healthcare benefit scheme, and utilities allowances. Each state and territory also offers cheaper travel and retail discounts to people over 60. Additional services, which are means-tested and partly financed by contributions from a recipient’s pension after a departmental assessment of what is needed, include the Home Care package, and the Home and Community Care package. People over the age of 65 can apply, or from 50 if they are Aboriginal or an Torres Strait Islander. Helen Davidson, Darwin


At the core of the German welfare benefits system is the comprehensive social insurance system into which most workers pay, which includes healthcare provision, unemployment insurance and pension insurance. Once you pay into all these parts of the system, (about 15.5% of your salary for healthcare, 3% for employment insurance, nursing care insurance, 2.2% or 1.95% for those with no children, 18.9% for pension insurance – most of these shared with an employer) you are entitled to a range of benefits, including healthcare for older people. Prescriptions and glasses are covered by that system so don’t have to be applied for separately, and are not classed as benefits.

The normal retirement age for everyone born after 1964 is 67 years. Women who take time off to have children have their contributions topped up by the state. But an OECD report published this week shows that Germany has the widest pension benefits gap between men and women in Europe and the US. The average monthly pension received is around €1,052 (£767.46) for men in the old West German states, and €1,006 (£733.9) for those in the old East German states, while for women the figures are €521 (£380) and €705 (£514). Kate Connolly, Berlin


Roughly one in four Japanese are 65 or over – that proportion is expected to rise to one in three by 2025. Pride that life expectancies for Japanese men and women are among the highest in the world is tempered by concern over how to pay for welfare in the coming decades, when there will be fewer people of working age to foot the bill. In 2012, the full basic pension was ¥786,500 (£4,342) a year, 16% of average earnings of 4.79 million yen (£26,443) a year, according to OECD figures. Everyone aged between 20 and 59 is expected to enrol in the basic national pension scheme, but only those who have paid in for a minimum of 25 years are eligible to draw a pension when they retire at 65. Full-time company employees and their spouses are automatically included in the employees’ pension scheme, which provides additional contributions to the basic state pension, proportional to an individual’s salary. The government estimates that about 85% of Japan’s workforce draw from the employees’ pension scheme. The fuel allowances for low-income residents will be cut by about ¥3bn (£16.2m) in this financial year. People aged 75 or older only need to shoulder 10% of their medical costs unless they have a high income. Everyone else pays 30% of the total cost. Some cities offer reasonably priced annual passes that enable elderly passengers unlimited travel for a year. Justin McCurry and Chie Matsumoto, Tokyo

Nordic countries

Unlike Sweden and Finland, in Norway pensions are holding up, and poverty among pensioners is actually falling dramatically, despite rising average wages. The official pension age has been 67 for both men and women since the 1970s, but it is possible to draw a full old-age pension from 62 and continue to work full time, while there is a range of options to draw a partial pension. But 67 remains the age when most people aim to retire – and the age at which people on disability benefits are transfered to pensions. Norwegians can continue to accrue pension entitlement until they are 75. Norway’s pension system is in transition, and currently two versions are in operation as the old one is phased out. The outgoing one is a defined benefit scheme comprised of a flat-rate universal benefit, an earnings-related second tier and a minimum benefit floor of almost 50% of average earnings after tax. It is a strongly progressive, egalitarian system due to the comparatively generous level of minimum protection and a decreasing replacement rate for earnings above the average annual wage. Marginal tax rates on pension income rise rapidly. A worker in Norway with 40 years’ contributions on an average wage can expect to enjoy a pension of about 67% of their previous income after tax. A new system is gradually taking over that consists of a defined contribution scheme, plus a minimum guaranteed pension. The payouts from this scheme are subject to a life expectancy adjustment, implying that old-age benefits for each new cohort of pensioners will be reduced in proportion to increases in longevity compared to 2010. Employment among older people is high in Norway, with more than 70% of people aged between 55 and 64 still working – well above the EU average of around 50%. In Sweden, pensions used to be more generous than in Norway, but the average pension is now just above 50% of wages, and it is expected to dip below that level if life expectancy increases and the retirement age is not postponed. The guaranteed minimum pension is about one-third of the net average wage. Pensioners in Sweden and Norway get discounts on public transport, entry to museums and an income-tested housing allowance is available. Pensioners – like other people in need – can also apply for social assistance to cover one-off payments and special needs. David Crouch, Gothenburg



The legal retirement age in Russia is early by European standards: 60 years for men and 55 for women. There has long been talk of raising the age, but given that male life expectancy is only just above 60, the move would be deeply unpopular. Russia’s finance minister said in a recent interview that the pension age should be increased gradually until it is 63 for both men and women. There is also talk of introducing an income test for pensioners – currently none exists and working pensioners or those receiving money from investments or other sources can still claim their pension. Workers involved in certain categories of hard labour, those who have spent more than 15 years working in Russia’s far north, and mothers of more than five children, are entitled to begin receiving their pensions earlier. A new points-based system is being phased in that will determine how much money pensioners receive based on how many years they worked. Currently, the basic state pension is around 4,000 (£40) roubles per month, but almost all pensioners receive a number of add-ons, and the average pension across the country is around 11,000 roubles (£110) per month, which is a little under one-third of the average salary. Some regions have particular allowances, for instance pensioners who have been registered living in Moscow for more than 10 years have their pensions topped up to at least 12,000 roubles by the Moscow city government.Pensioners also have a number of travel subsidies, discounted medicine, as well as small savings in certain supermarket chains, usually offered on particular days of the week. There is no guarantee of the security of Russia’s pension fund further down the line, and indeed it was recently admitted that 243bn roubles (£2.4bn) had been redirected from the pension fund to pay for costs associated with annexing Crimea. Shaun Walker, Moscow

United States

As the country ages there is no shortage of local, state, national and not-for-profit initiatives that cater to older citizens’ needs. From prevention of elder abuse to ageing awareness to help with nutrition, assistance programmes are a common feature in many communities. Take the “Campus Kitchens Project”, which along with the older persons’ organisation, AARP Foundation announced in 2014 a three-year renewal of its outreach effortsusing student volunteers to combat hunger and isolation among older people. With an estimated 9m older Americans at risk of hunger and the number of hungry people over 50 up by 80% in a decade the initiative harnesses a number of student-run kitchens at colleges across the country to help tackle food insecurity. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, one project, “Coming of age”, under the auspices of a collection of organisations, including the state branch of AARP has trained administrators in methods to revamp “seniors centres” to make them more appealing for older people to spend time in with numerous benefits including reducing social isolation. While there are plenty of examples of inventive community-based initiatives, there are wider challenges not least of which is funding retirement. Exactly what income and benefits an individual receives when they reach 65 depends on a host of factors including which state they live in, whether they continue working past retirement age and in what capacity, the level of private or public sector employment-based pensions and other savings or investments. The Pension Rights Center in Washington DC and the Pension Policy Center report that of the 44.7 million Americans over the age of 65 in 2013, half had a total annual income of less than $20,380 (£13,271) – from all sources. Most US retirees receive income from social security, a federal social insurance programme to which people contribute via direct taxation. In the absence of a national state pension, it is the primary source of income for many and widely regarded as the foundation of retirement income. In 2013, 85% of older Americans received monthly social security benefits. The average annual benefit from social security for retired workers in 2013 was $15,132 (£9,852). According to the Social Security Administration, the national average wage in the same year was $44,888. For three out of five people over 65 who receive social security benefits it accounts for half of their total annual retirement income but it is particularly important for lower income Americans. In 2012 one in four people over the age of 65 received all of their income from social security. According to the Global Age Watch Index 2014 the modest nature of social security payments and the high reliance on it means that the US has a higher incidence of elder poverty than most other countries One of the most valued public services available to older Americans is Medicare, a national health insurance system with almost universal coverage. According to Global Age Watch the programme provides “good access” to medical services and preventative care. However wWhen it comes to access to services for older people with long-term care needs, however, there are many barriers to obtaining affordable, quality provision because most adults don’t have separate insurance coverage for these. Mary O’Hara, Los Angeles

South Africa

Old age pensions are provided to people above the age of 60 earning below R49,920 (£2,763) if single and R99,840 (£5,527) if married, and whose assets do not exceed R831,600 (£46,041) if single and R1.7 million if married. Beneficiaries must not be maintained or cared for in a state institution, and should not be in receipt of another social grant. An elderly person is typically eligible for a grant of 1,350 rand (£75) per month. Government guidelines state: “It should be noted that social grants for adults are paid on a sliding scale – the more income and applicant has, the less he/she will receive for the grant.” They can turn to extended families and NGOs for help. The services NGOs offer include social support groups, training and education, income generating projects, frail care services, transport to health facilities and luncheon clubs and home based care, according to the Older Person’s Forum. But most of these services are non-existent in rural areas. Nearly three million people were old age pension recipients in 2013/14. There are private companies that offer these benefits to pensioners – such as Specsavers with spectacles and some bus companies regarding travel.South Africa has one of the largest voluntary retirement funding systems in the world (and for the large proportions of people in employment, these arrangements are mandatory conditions of service). There are programmes of support in provincial social department for old age homes.There is broadly free healthcare in public health facilities. Public housing and transport also benefits many elderly people. Those retiring early have their pensions cut by 3.6% for each year, except those forced into early retirement, whose pensions can by cut by a maximum of 10.8%. David Smith, Johannesburg


The state pension is €219-€230 (£159-£167) per week for people under 80 and €240.30 (£175) for over-80s, depending on Older people, like all other Italians, receive free healthcare under the national health system. The services are either delivered free of charge, or patients pay for them and are reimbursed. Other benefits differ from region to region. For example, residents in Rome over the age of 70 are offered free bus and metro passes. Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Rome


The legal retirement age in France now stands at 62 for people born between 1955 and 1973. However a full state pension is only awarded for those who have worked 40-43 years. Those born after 1973 will have to work for 43 years to obtain a full pension at 62. In certain cases, including those who have taken time out for parenting or taking care of a disabled person, it is possible to claim a full pension at the age of 65 (or 67 depending on the date of birth) regardless of how long the individual has worked. For private sector workers, the full pension takes into account the 25 best years worked, with an allowance for inflation, and can total half their monthly salary. Civil servants have a more generous scheme: they can retire on a state pension of 75% of average income, calculated on the basis of their last six months in work (minus bonuses). However under reforms announced last year, civil servants will have to work an extra two years – 43 instead of 41.5 – to receive a full pension, bringing them into line with the work period requirements of the private sector, even though the calculation remains different. For unemployed pensioners, a single person with less than €9,600 (£6,988) per year or a couple with less than €14,904 per year can claim an allowance called the allocation de solidarité aux personnes agés (Aspa), or elderly persons solidarity benefit. In the case of a single person surviving on €7,000 a year, the Aspa allowance would be €2,600 (£1,893) – calculated according to the €9,600 benchmark figure minus the €7,000. A couple with €13,000 would receive €1,904 per year. Anne Penketh, Paris


The state pension is €219-€230 (£159-£167) per week for under-80s and €240.30 (£175) for over-80s, depending on social insurance contributions while working, regardless of any income from private or occupational pensions. Pensioners, like those in receipt of long-term social welfare payments or those who can prove they cannot provide their heating needs during winter, are entitled to a means-tested weekly winter fuel allowance of €20 (£ 14.54) per household. Those over 70 receive a free TV licence and in some cases are eligible for means-tested free electricity and gas depending on their fiscal circumstances. All pensioners receive free bus and rail travel, not only in the Irish Republic but across the border in Northern Ireland. Henry McDonald, Dublin Source: The Guardian



Barclay's bank
Dominic Lipinski—PA Wire/Press Association Images

More companies are recognizing the value of mature workers—and they’re starting to hire them.

Things are finally looking up for older workers.

The latest data show the unemployment rate for those over age 55 stands at just 4.1%, compared with 5.7% for the total population and a steep 18.8% for teens. The ranks of the long-term unemployed, which ballooned during the recession as mature workers lost their jobs, are coming down. Age-discrimination charges have fallen for six consecutive years. And now, as the job market lurches back to life, more companies are wooing the silver set with formal retraining programs.

This is not to say that older workers have it easy. Overall, the long-term unemployment rate remains stubbornly high—31.5%. And even though age-discrimination charges have declined they remain at peak pre-recession levels. Meanwhile, critics note that some corporate re-entry programs are not a great deal, paying little or no salary and distracting workers from seeking full-time gainful employment.

Still, the big picture is one of improving opportunity for workers past age 50. That’s welcome news for many reasons, not least is that those who lose their job past age 58 are at greater health risk and, on average, lose three years of life expectancy. Meanwhile, older workers are a bigger piece of the labor force. Two decades ago, less than a third of people age 55 and over were employed or looking for work. Today, the share is 40%, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

AARP and others have long argued that older workers are reliable, flexible, experienced and possess valuable institutional knowledge. Increasingly, employers seem to want these traits.

This spring, the global bank Barclays will expand its apprenticeship program and begin looking at candidates past age 50. The bank will consider mature workers from unrelated fields, saying the only experience they need is practical experience. The bank says this is no PR stunt; it values older workers who have life experience and can better relate to customers seeking a mortgage or auto loan. With training, the bank believes they would make good, full-time, fairly compensated loan officers.

Already, Barclays has a team of tech-savvy older workers in place to help mature customers with online banking. The new apprenticeship program builds on this effort to capitalize on the life skills of experienced employees.

Others have tiptoed into this space. Goldman Sachs started a “returnship” in the throes of the recession. But the program is only a 10-week retraining exercise, with competitive pay, and highly selective. About 2% of applicants get accepted. It is not designed as a gateway to full-time employment at Goldman, though some older interns end up with job offers at the bank.

The nonprofit offers mature workers a one-yearfellowship, typically in a professional capacity at another nonprofit, to help mature workers re-enter the job market. Again, this is a temporary arrangement and pays just $25,000.

But a growing number of organizations—the National Institutes of Health, Stanley Consultants, and Michelin North America, amongmany others—embrace a seasoned workforce and have programs designed to attract and keep workers past 50. Companies with internship programs for older workers include PwC, Regeneron, Harvard Business School, MetLife and McKinsey.

Source:  Money

Tuesday, 24 February 2015
50 is the new 40: Why SMEs should consider an older workforce

We all understand the population is ageing, and while comments by treasurer Joe Hockey that the first person to live to 150 may have already been born attracted some derision, it should come as no surprise. What is less easy to understand is the curious paradox that, as the workforce ages, the age at which workers are being labelled by organisations and recruiters as “old” is getting younger.

The way that many organisations and those recruiting for organisations construct old age is very different to the way that the authors of the soon-to-be-released Intergenerational Report are likely to construct older age. Our research into the management of age in organisations has found overwhelmingly that employees over the age of 45 self-identify as older. Further, there is a general sense amongst organisational decision makers that if you haven’t “made it” by the age of 40 you aren’t going to “make it” at all.

Declaring that you must have made it by 40 not only ignores the huge potential of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s, but it also doesn’t account for the fact that many women and men are ready to hit their stride in their 50s. Relieved of the heavy lifting responsibilities of parenting, they are able to devote themselves to their careers and to their employers.

Some companies have managed to see this potential and are beginning to think creatively about what having an older workforce profile means and how they can leverage its opportunities for increased productivity and innovation.
The advent of the corporation in the early and mid-twentieth century created a prototypical career/life cycle in which youth meant education, adulthood meant work and old age meant retirement. This may have served bureaucratic corporations of the past because it provided order and calculability to those who passed through it.

However, it is an out-dated way of thinking for the modern corporation Much of the discourse in the lead-up to the release of the Intergenerational Report pits old against young. Older people are constructed as an economic burden and younger people as resentful and angry. Yet our research into intergenerational relations in organisations found high levels of respect between younger and older people.

In particular, we found that younger employees greatly respected the knowledge and resilience that their older co-workers brought to their work. As the workforce ages and people stay in work longer, there is a huge opportunity to capitalise on the diversity of ideas, customer segments and product markets that an intergenerational workforce can open up to an organisation. Our research with a global engineering firm showed that the most innovative divisions were the ones in which teams were configured to include a broad range of ages, from new graduates to experienced workers over the age of 65. Respondents reporting learning from one another, and the shared experience flowed both ways. In these teams, the notion of experience wasn’t limited to time served, nor was it seen to expire once people had reached a certain age.

Words do matter. The way that we talk about age in organisations affects both internal employee engagement and also recruitment strategies. Those older and younger than the magic age of 35 to 45 often receive an unintended but powerful message that they have less to contribute to the organisation, and report lower levels of workplace engagement as a result. The language organisations use in their general marketing and specifically in their recruitment can send unintended signals that those over 45 need not apply.

One organisation we worked with wanted to recruit people 45 and older but was having trouble attracting candidates. We could show them that the wording of their job advertisements, “join a vibrant team that works hard and plays hard” and “working space is fresh and funky” was unintentionally signalling that older candidates were not welcome. We encouraged them to highlight aspects of the job that are most important to older workers: recognition of skills, work and life experience; the culture and values of the organisation; and the opportunity to learn new things. This last one is important because it is perhaps the most pervasive yet blatantly false stereotype about ageing. We don’t stop wanting to learn new things as we age.

If the fourth Intergenerational Report is to have the impact that the government, policy makers and employees of all ages are hoping it will, then it is business that needs to take the lead in re-imagining careers, shifting to an age-inclusive culture and establishing the organisational structures whereby employees of all generations can work with, for and alongside one another. Our prosperity and productivity as a nation relies on it.

Source:  SmartCompany 

Date:  January 19, 2015

Could you engage in a conceited deceit that would make others think you were younger?

Could you engage in a conceited deceit that would make others think you were younger? Photo: iStock

You’ll have seen loads of ‘New Year, New You’ stories by now – do this, stop doing that, buy a different shampoo and you’ll look years younger, feel heaps better and be far more attractive.

The most consistent message seems to be that the appearance of youth is the key to success. Even for men, who traditionally have a longer shelf life than women, being young (or at least appearing to be) has enormous cachet.

There are plenty of ways to pass yourself off as a younger feller – new haircuts, plastic surgery, a spot of Botox, maybe getting rid of that unsightly beard. Best of all, try losing a few kilos – chiselled is always better than jowly.

But have you tried this? It’s simple and, while not entirely foolproof, it’s certainly guaranteed to bring results. What is it? Lie about your age.

Until quite recently whenever I mentioned how old I was, the response would be something along the lines of “No, really, you don’t look it”, “My God you are not” etc.

So imagine my surprise when I told someone my real age and their response was … “Oh yeah”.

My face had caught up with my birth certificate, something needed to be done, and the simplest thing was to rewind the clock.

It’s as easy as that. Now if anyone asks my birthday I give my wife’s. And just like that I’m six years younger.

Proof of youth

What’s wrong with that? It’s not like I’m trying to commit identity fraud. I’m not passing myself off as anyone else, just lopping 70 months off my age.

It obviously doesn’t work with banks or insurance companies which, annoyingly, want to know my actual birthday “for security purposes”.

It probably won’t fool HR when the grim reaper of redundancy next passes through the office, either. Everyone else will have no choice but to believe it.

And more people are doing it than you might think. I recently read a story about someone I’d interviewed  a few years back and smelt a rat. A quick look back through the clippings file revealed that he, too, had at some point been a bit elastic with his age. And good for him.

My sister admitted to me the other day that she’s been doing it for years and claims her partner’s birthday as her own now and again. She has to remember his star sign and act the part when she does but otherwise, she says, it’s a big success.

Getting away with it

But can you get away with it? Pick a new birth year – and stick to it. Maybe keep the same birthday. You might have to bone up on kids’ TV or pop songs from your purportedly formative years.

I’m luckier – an accent that identifies I’m not from around here gives me a degree of vagueness about these things. Don’t lop too much off, either – ideally, no more than 10 per cent of your real age.

I don’t think it’s a big deal. You are, after all, only as old as you feel. And if you feel like being a bit younger what’s to stop you? Go on, give it a whirl.

Is your age set in stone or do you tell the odd white lie?

Source:  The Age

Photo credit: ChrisGoldNY / Foter / CC BY-NC

Rina Chandran

(Bloomberg) — Everyone calls her Auntie Helen. At 69, she’s one of the oldest employees at the food court at Raffles Place in Singapore, where office workers grab sandwiches and bowls of soba noodles in the lunchtime rush.

As she cleans and stacks cutlery, Helen Wong might seem to represent the workforce of the city’s past. For a government grappling with an aging population, rising costs and curbs on immigration, her generation is the future.

“Food, transport, medicine are all more expensive now,” said Wong, who works seven hours a day, five days a week in the canteen-like basement, where diners can choose dishes from more than a dozen different vendors. “If I’m healthy and my body allows it, I’d like to work for as long as I’m able.”

In a culture that traditionally expects children to look after elderly parents, Singapore’s employment rate for those between ages 55 and 64 is now 66 percent, among the highest of the 34 nations in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The government has made it mandatory for companies to offer three more years of work to those turning 62, the official retirement age, and plans to extend that to five years by 2017.

“The earlier mindset that having elderly people working indicates a lack of respect by younger people has changed,” said Theresa Devasahayam, editor of “Gender and Ageing: Southeast Asian Perspectives” and a visiting senior research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. “There are fewer children to take care of the elderly.”

Global Trend

The trend in Singapore is a microcosm of what’s happening across much of the developed world as families shrink and people live longer, increasing the strain on government pension systems.

South Korea, with the fastest-aging population in the OECD, told employers to provide retirement plans for staff starting in 2016 after realizing that its state pension fund may go broke by 2060, when its population over 65 is set to triple. Germany and the U.K. plan to raise their retirement ages to 67 from 65, while Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey wants to increase the threshold to 70, the highest in the world.

Singapore has gone a step further. Rather than simply extending the working age, the government is encouraging companies to bring retirees back into the workforce. New registrations by those over 60 at state-run career centers, which help find jobs and retrain workers, almost doubled to 4,799 in 2013, from 2,494 in 2008.

“This is a huge change that has enormous social consequences that we haven’t fully grasped yet,” said Randolph Tan, an associate professor at SIM University in Singapore and a nominated member of parliament. “I’m not sure there’s much benefit to be had from raising the age any further.”

Better Society

The push to hire older workers follows an attempt to increase the population by as much as 25 percent by 2030 through immigration, a policy that prompted a public backlash as the arrival of migrants pushed up property prices and strained public transport. More than 40 percent of the country’s population was born abroad.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responded by tightening rules for foreign workers, warning that the cost may be higher taxes over the next two decades. In his New Year statement on Dec. 31, Lee said weak productivity gains for three straight years amid a labor crunch was “disappointing.”

“We need to employ all facets of labor of our very small workforce,” said Wai Ho Leong, a Singapore-based senior economist at Barclays Plc, who was previously head of the trade and industry ministry’s microeconomics unit. “Society is better off when older people are active.”

Salmon Filleter

To help address the labor shortfall, a committee for the employability of older workers unveiled an advertising campaign last year showcasing a 65-year-old lifeguard, a 76-year-old assistant inventory manager and a 60-year-old salmon filleter.

“Tap Into a Wealth of Experience,” exhorted an ad plastered across the side of a bus driving through the central shopping district, featuring a 58-year-old assistant front office manager at Raffles Hotel.

“Given the tight labor market situation, you actually would find many employers coming forward to say they’re willing to hire older workers,” Senior Minister of State for Manpower Amy Khor said in parliament in September.

Older workers have found jobs in companies including Hotel Royal Plaza on Scotts, Singapore General Hospital Pte. and ComfortDelGro Corp., which runs the island’s biggest taxi service, according to the committee. The government in 2012 raised the age limit for taxi drivers to 75 from 73.

Low Pay

Singapore offsets part of the costs of hiring elderly workers and companies can tap government funds to redesign jobs and human resource systems for them. Older employees are especially useful for lower-skilled positions that otherwise might not be filled, said Leong at Barclays.

Cleaners, laborers and production and transport operators accounted for the highest numbers of older workers, according to a survey last year by Singapore-based DBS Bank Ltd. A majority of the elderly who were employed drew gross monthly incomes of less than S$1,500 ($1,124), it showed.

“When you see elderly people cleaning the pavement in the middle of the day, you have to wonder if this is sustainable,” Devasahayam said. “It’s not practical to expect them to keep doing it; it’s cruel, there’s a moral dimension to it.”

About one-fifth of Singapore’s employees over 55 work part time, such as Margaret Lee, who retrained after retiring from a childcare center and now works two days a week at a school cafeteria.

Extra Money

“It gives me something useful to do, and some extra money to spend,” said Lee, 62, whose husband is retired. Working part time allows her to help look after her grandchildren while their parents are at work.

By 2020, more than a third of Singapore’s population will be over 50, and by 2050 the nation’s median age will be 54, according to the committee on older workers, which includes representatives from government, business and trade unions.

“It has become essential to hire older workers because of the aging population,” said Angelina Toh, co-founder of AJA Enterprises Pte, which adapts buildings to withstand bomb blasts. She said her company employs them in supervisory and marketing roles where they adjust better than foreign workers. “They’re more mature emotionally, more independent,” Toh said.

Singaporean men live more than 20 years beyond the official retirement age on average and women 25 years, the longest out of the 68 countries in the Global Sunset Index released by Bloomberg Rankings in 2013. While retirees can draw from their pension savings at 55, at least S$155,000 must be kept in the account to provide a steady income stream.

Only one in five Singapore investors is confident their pension accounts will meet their retirement needs, with 47 percent indicating the savings will be insufficient, according to a survey released in August by Toronto-based insurer Manulife Financial Corp.

Auntie Helen says the money from her job in the food court covers her daily expenses and she enjoys chatting with her younger colleagues.

“What else is there for me to do, watch TV?” she said. “I was getting bored at home.”

Friday, 19 December 2014 1:50
Which age group is guilty of chucking the most sickies?

YOLO*: young workers are more likely to fake a sick day than other age groups, according to research from Melbourne University.

Almost 40% of employees aged 18-24 and 43% of people aged 24-34admitted to faking a sick day in the past year in a poll of more than 1000 Australian workers conducted by the Centre for Workplace Leadership.

In comparison, workers over 45 years old or in senior management positions were least likely to fake a sick day.

Founder and director of the Centre for Workplace Leadership, Peter Gahan, told SmartCompany the study also looked into what employees thought of their workplace more generally and received some interesting results.

“More than twice the number of young workers were reported as taking a fake sickie than older workers,” he says.

“And about half of them who were among that group said they were not looking forward to coming into work after a weekend. I suppose it suggests to us that your past absence behaviour is probably a good indicator of future absence behaviour and the likelihood of people taking a sickie.”

Gahan says this widespread “Mondayitis” should be at the forefront of managers’ minds, and while it can be easy to label young people as lazy it is worth looking at the bigger picture.

“Given about half of them are also not looking forward to coming back to work, it tells us there is an issue with engagement and the extent to which people are happy at work,” he says.

“Have a sense of absence behaviour as an important way to get a sense of how engaged your workforce is. When people take an absence, don’t assume it’s because people are being irresponsible – it might be that you have an issue with employee engagement and satisfaction.”

“Managers need to think about how they can ensure that there is an opportunity for their workforce to express that dissatisfaction and be provided with a sense that they’re being listened to.”

Gen George, founder of short-term jobs platform OneShift, toldSmartCompany in light of the research businesses could look at how flexible their workplace is.

“I’m not justifying people lying, I just think it should be reviewed to suit the new culture at work,” George says.

“It works both ways, but maybe there’s happy medium… but of course while still protecting businesses.”

(*Maybe it’s just a case of You Only Live Once)

Source: SmartCompany 

Date:  November 26, 2014 

Baby boomers caught short on retirement

The last of the baby boomers will turn 50 by the end of the this year. Often it is the big five-o that starts people to really think about saving for their retirement.

So with all of those born in the two decades to 1964 now either retired, or galloping toward it, there are bound to be changes to the economy and society in general.

Boomers have changed each life stage they have passed, and older boomers are redefining what it means to retire.

Retire in peace: for many baby boomers retirement may not be as comfortable as they would like.

Retire in peace: for many baby boomers retirement may not be as comfortable as they would like.

They want to be able to enjoy the lifestyle to which many have become accustomed during their working lives.

However, there are challenges. While many have benefited from rising house prices, for many others, the size of their superannuation accounts is not big enough to afford the retirements they would like.

More boomers are entering retirement with debt and their adult children are staying at home for longer, which is making it harder to save.

Looking to the future: About  35 per cent of baby boomers describe themselves as "completely unprepared" for retirement.

Looking to the future: About 35 per cent of baby boomers describe themselves as “completely unprepared” for retirement.

Not enough saved

A survey on behalf of industry super fund REST, released early last year, found a disconnect between what boomers expect their retirement to be like and what reality has in store.

It found 35 per cent of boomers described themselves are “completely unprepared” for retirement, 51 per cent as “somewhat prepared” and only 14 per cent as financially prepared.

Universal compulsory super only started in 1992, so boomers,  older ones in particular, have not had the benefit of the superannuation guarantee over their whole working lives.

In a second REST survey of over-50s, released in June this year, one quarter said they had less than $50,000 in super, with a further 12 per cent having $50,000 to $100,000 in super.

Not surprisingly, only half of over 50s say they are looking forward to retirement. It seems it is more likely to be outings in the tinnie rather than cruising down the Rhine or Loire.

“This group who started their working lives before the advent of compulsory superannuation are trapped between a rock and a hard place,” says Damian Hill, the chief executive of REST.

Nearly two-thirds estimate they will need to rely on the age pension to supplement their retirement income, highlighting the fact that the system came too late for some to get the maximum impact,” he said.

Wait for age pension

However, younger boomers are going to be waiting longer for the age pension and the pensioner concessions that come with it.

The Abbott government is to further increase the qualifying age for the age pension to 70 by July 1, 2035. The increase will be phased-in.

The higher qualifying age will affect younger boomers more than is likely realised. The exact qualifying age will depend on actual birth date but, very roughly, anyone aged about 49 or younger now will have a qualifying age of 70.

The youngest boomers (those aged about 50) will be waiting until they are 69 for the age pension. For those aged 55, it is 67 and for today’s 60-year-old it is 66.

It is not just a longer wait for the pension, but starting in 2017 a couple of measures will tighten access to the pension and the fortnightly pension will be indexed to inflation, rather than to wages, which grows more quickly than inflation.

As well, it is only a matter of time before the preservation age, the age at which superannuation savings can be accessed, is increased. Like the increase in the age pension qualifying age it would be increased gradually, but could rise to age 65 to maintain the five-year gap with the new age pension qualifying age.

Call to action

Olivia Maragna, a financial planner with Aspire Retire, rarely sees boomers who cannot make relatively small changes in their weekly budgeting that will put them in a position to have the lifestyle they want in retirement.

A good adviser should be looking line-by-line on spending and giving advice on how they can make little changes on all aspects of their financial affairs, she says.

Sometimes, boomers have to be told that they are not going to have the retirement they want if they do not makes changes now.

Claire Mackay, a financial planner and a chartered accountant at Quantum Financial, says: “You cannot have a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.” She says: “If you do not have discipline around expenses while you have regular pay coming in, it is going to be that much harder in retirement.”

Mackay says usually the first things new clients will ask her is how much money they will need for their retirement, and whether they are on track to get there.

Mackay does modelling for the client that shows the outcome if the client keeps doing what they are doing. The modelling shows how, by making some small changes, such as spending a bit less, they will be able to live better in retirement.

Though, for many boomers, even making small savings, such as salary sacrificing into super, can be difficult as many of them are sandwiched between looking after their ageing parents and their adult children.

Sandwich generation

Laura Menschik, a financial planner and director of WLM Financial Services, has many boomer clients who are sandwiched between caring for aging parents and their adult children.

Many of the younger boomers still have sizeable mortgages. More of their adult children are going onto full-time tertiary eduction and staying at home for longer.

High rents and high house prices, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, are also keeping adult children at home for longer. Menschik says she is coming across more boomers who say they want to help their children into the property market.

She says, some of her clients who do not have the cash to help their children with a house deposit do look to access part of their super if they can.

“I am not saying it is for everyone, but it is a trend for those baby boomers who have done well out of property themselves,” Menschik says.

The parents have to be able to afford it, Menschik says. You do not want to be going back to the children some years later and saying you need to money back, she says.

Though there are challenges, retirement is exciting, Mackay says. It is the time you can do what you want to do. “I have had clients come to me months before they retire; it is never too late to start,” she says. “If you have a plan you then you can make adjustments.”

Home to fund retirement

Many boomers will have seen the value of their homes rise considerably, and that is likely to prompt them to think that the house could be the answer to the retirement-saving shortfall.

According to the latest MLC Wealth Sentiment survey, released in October, 11 per cent of adult Australians plan to sell the family home to fund their retirement.

About 8 per cent said they would draw down equity in their home to help fund their retirements. The others were either unsure what they would do or said they had no plans to sell their homes.

Menschik says people who sell the family home and then buy the apartment on the coast often find they do not have much left over.

“They want the nice apartment with the view and there is not much left over, especially after the high costs of moving,” she says. These include high transaction costs such as stamp duty.

They will probably want at least a couple of bedrooms to accommodate visitors. Older boomers looking for a quick fix may be tempted by a reverse mortgage, which is a way for home-owning retirees to free some cash while staying in the house. They are usually available to over-60s who own their home outright.

The money can be taken as a lump sum or as an income stream. Menschik says reverse mortgages can be suitable. There are no repayments on the loan, which is repaid when house is sold.  That will be when the owner dies, moves to a smaller house, or moves into a retirement home or an aged-care facility. As there are no repayments on the loan the interest on the loan is capitalised.

They have to understand the debt can grow to be a large of chunk of the sale price of the price of the house, especially over long periods, Menschik says. That will leave less for the owner to fund aged care after the house is sold or to pay for medical expenses.

 An alternative to reverse mortgages is run by the government and is cheaper than a reverse mortgage from a bank. Centrelink and Department of Veterans’ Affairs have a Pension Loan Scheme where those on a part age pension can take out a loan that is repaid when the property, which can be an investment property, is sold.

The loan can only be taken as an income stream. It is limited to that which, when added to the part-pension, takes them to the maximum pension. There are conditions, but the scheme is available to some retirees of age-pension age who are not receiving the age pension.

Bucket list

An online poll was conducted early this year of 1000 people aged 55 plus on behalf of REST super fund. Over half of older Australians said they have a retirement bucket list. Of those with a bucket list:

  • More than half (53 per cent) want to travel the world.
  • Four in 10 (43 per cent) want to go on a road trip.
  • One third (36 per cent) want to visit a world famous attraction or event like Machu Picchu, Niagara Falls or the Rio carnival.
  • One in seven (14 per cent) want to swim with dolphins.
  • 15 per cent want to write a book.
  • One in 10 (11 per cent) want to learn to play a musical instrument.
  • 30 per cent want to leave an inheritance to their children.

Action plan

  • Thirty-seven per cent of over-50s say they have less than $100,000 in super.
  • It is never too late to start a plan for retirement.
  • Professional advice can help clarify what is needed.
  • The earlier a retirement strategy is started the better.
  • Releasing equity in the house to help fund retirement has to be approached with caution.

Source:  SMH

Some people find retiring hard to do

There is a fast-growing global trend for people to remain in the workforce well past traditional retirement ages. | Illustration: Carolyn Ridsdale

There is a fast-growing global trend for people to remain in the workforce well past
traditional retirement ages. | Illustration: Carolyn Ridsdale

Some older workers find retiring hard to do. With the right financial advice and lifestyle adjustments, they can continue to work – and it can even prove good for their health.

Jenny and Peter “Herb” Gardner have created what many would regard as an idyllic transition to retirement on their organic vineyard in Canowindra, 300km west of Sydney.

In a textbook example of long-term planning, the Gardners bought the land 13 years ago, planted their first grapes that same year and then built a straw-bale house clad in local clay.

The first vintage of Gardners Ground wine was produced within three years.

Meanwhile Jenny, now 67, and Herb, 70, progressively shed their Sydney life as they became more confident that the “experiment” was working: they sold their inner-city home and eventually their medium-sized industrial business.

Having worked hard throughout their lives, the couple now work about 15 hours a week.

They grow the grapes, organise the wine-making and market their expanding range, calling on professional help and labour when needed.

The Gardners are representative of a fast-growing global trend for people to remain in the workforce well past traditional retirement ages, often reducing their workloads and switching, if possible, to occupations that reflect their personal interests or passions.

A special report this year on the world’s ageing workforce by The Economist magazine’s Intelligence Unit predicts: “Retirement, as experienced by post-war generations, could soon become a thing of the past.” And it seems many workers would welcome the change.

The report, commissioned by human resources and financial consultancy Towers Watson, points to European Commission research suggesting that a majority of Europeans find the prospect of working part-time and receiving a part pension preferable to full retirement.

Certainly, the broad drivers of this trend to working into old age are greater longevity, generally inadequate retirement savings and pressure on government age pensions.

In their late careers, people often want to do what they were once so passionate about in their early careers.– Alison Monroe, Sageco

Yet it appears, at least anecdotally, that increasing numbers of older people, including those with substantial retirement savings, are finding work a more fulfilling way to spend their time than being on a beach or golf course.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Retirement and Retirement Intentions report shows that one in five working Australians over age 45 intends to retire at 70 or older.

Thirteen per cent never intend to retire while another 8 per cent haven’t made up their minds if they will ever retire.

By contrast, the ABS reports the average retirement age of those who retired in the past five years was 61.5 years.

Research reports and media articles tend to focus on how employers can make the most of an older workforce.

Somewhat overlooked are how individuals can best prepare themselves for working past popular retirement ages and how to make the most of the potential health and financial benefits of a longer working life.

Career coach Alison Monroe believes individuals preparing to work beyond traditional retirement ages should create a “life plan” that candidly sets out the state of their health, their personal finances and their career.

And then the plan should set out their aims to make the most of their circumstances.

Monroe, group chief executive of career consultancy Sageco, is a specialist in guiding the careers of an ageing workforce.

When drafting their plan, Monroe suggests that older workers take into account:

  • Health: Question whether you have the physical and mental agility for your present job. Should you consider a less demanding role? Should you take advice about how to improve your health – looking at exercise, stress, diet – to increase your work longevity?
  • Money: Look at your financial position, goals and commitments. And Monroe asks clients: “What does your bucket list look like and how are you going to fund it?” She typically suggests that clients see a financial planner to get a financial plan.
  • Career: Ask yourself some “powerful” questions about how your career is going, Monroe says. What aspects of your career are working well? What could be working better for yourself and your employer? What do you no longer feel skilled in or passionate about? And what work would you love to be doing? With answers to such questions, she believes older workers can create a vision for their future careers.

“In their late careers, people often want to do what they were once so passionate about in their early careers,” Monroe has found.

“But their careers have moved onwards and upwards. Sometimes, it is about designing a role to use your skills and passions even if it may mean giving away managing a team of 60 and a A$100 million budget.”

For some senior executives, the obstacle to taking on a less stressful role and working fewer hours a week is their unwillingness to take a pay cut.

Monroe suggests that executives wanting to keep working until an older age, yet at a slower pace, should be flexible about their remuneration to ensure that they will still offer employers value for money. “Don’t be greedy,” she advises.

With people living longer, the financial abuse of elders is becoming a worrying issue for accountants.

Dr John Lang, director of workplace health consultancy John Lang & Associates, agrees with Monroe about the importance of good health for those intending to work into their sixties and beyond.

He suggests that people with ambitions to work into old age adopt a practical strategy to slow the inevitable physical and cognitive deterioration from growing older.

Lang says the fundamental approach is easy to articulate – eat well, keep fit, manage stress and don’t smoke – but it is difficult for many to implement in middle age if they haven’t developed good habits throughout their lives.

He is convinced that a fit 60-year-old will outperform an unfit 40-year-old

in any standard test of cardiovascular fitness. And Lang emphasises that productive and enjoyable work is actually good for your health.

Financial planner David Rolleston CPA advises typically high net-worth clients who generally intend to keep working past traditional retirement ages – even though they can well afford to retire.

Rolleston, executive director of UBS Wealth Management and a member of CPA Australia’s Retirement Savings Centre of Excellence for retirement savings, says very few of his older clients want to spend their time “sitting on the beach 24/7” or repeatedly travelling the world.

His business-owning clients usually have no intention of ever retiring, while his clients who had careers as corporate executives usually change their work patterns before reaching 65, perhaps taking part-time work or doing something less stressful.

“My experience is that those clients who had retired early, certainly before 65, are generally finding that retirement is not for them,” Rolleston says.

“They miss the work environment so may take up board directorships and/or work with charities.”

Rolleston is finding that more of his clients still only in their forties and fifties are taking a step that is likely to eventually extend their working lives.

“They are taking six to 12 months out of the workforce,” he says, “to travel with the kids overseas or in a campervan around Australia. It recharges their batteries.”

His practical financial planning pointers for anyone considering working beyond 65 include maintaining contributions to superannuation and regularly moving superannuation savings from a so-called accumulation account into a superannuation pension account where fund earnings are not taxed.

He suggests that older working couples adopt strategies to ensure that their superannuation savings are balanced as evenly as possible between spouses.

This is as a precaution in case the law changes to tax earnings of superannuation pension accounts or superannuation pensions (which in Australia are tax-free for people aged over 60).

Reluctant retirees

Rolleston believes that working past popular retirement ages provides a “critical” opportunity to try to pay off any debts. “You don’t want to go into retirement with debt – it is very hard for retirees to get out of.”

Michael Rice, chief executive of Rice Warner, which specialises in wealth management research and advice, says individuals can potentially boost their eventual retirement income by perhaps 20 to 30 per cent by retiring at 70 rather than 65 – depending on the circumstances.

This is because their superannuation will benefit from five more years of contributions and five more years of earnings to finance what will be a shorter and therefore less costly retirement.

Rice, whose studies include adequacy of retirement savings and workforce participation, is emphatic that older workers need to “remove the mindset about a need to retire” on becoming eligible for the age pension.

He agrees with Monroe that a practical step older employees can make to extend their working lives is to critically examine their skills and to perhaps re-evaluate their worth to an employer.

“You might be earning A$200,000 a year,” Rice says, “and you may realise that you are slowing down.”

Rice suggests that older employers consider the option of approaching their bosses with a proposal to work for, say, another five years or so in return for a lower salary that reflects their perhaps reduced productivity.

“Then the employer probably gets better value for money, and you don’t have that terrible conversation where the boss says: ‘you are not as good as you used to be’.”

And here’s a final couple of tips from industrial businessman-turned-vigneron Herb Gardner for older individuals who want to make a working tree-change by setting up their own enterprises in the bush.

“Make sure you go to a district where there are professionals and qualified labour to call upon for the various parts of your business,” he says. “And look for somewhere with people who appear to reflect your desired lifestyle.”

The Asian way of retiring

Ambitions of retiring to a beach house and watching the waves break are not “culturally prevalent” among the older professional and business-owning clients of Singapore-based remuneration adviser Jon Robinson of Freshwater Advisers.

He says his professional clients tend to leave their partnerships in their mid-fifties or early sixties and take on a portfolio of assignments including company directorships. His business-owning clients remain with their enterprises into very old age.

The An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future report by Australia’s Productivity Commission points out that by 2060, one in eight Japanese will be aged 85 or over – compared with Australia’s projected one in 17.

In China today, only 8 per cent of Chinese are over age 65. By 2060, more than 28 per cent of its population will be over 65. And almost a third of Singapore’s population is expected to be over 65 by 2040.

Robinson says most Singaporeans who held senior positions would have adequately saved for their retirement. “[But] they are culturally driven to want to keep on working. They want to remain engaged and economically productive.”

Robinson has advised the Hong Kong and Singapore governments on their retirement policies.He says Singapore’s Central Provident Fund provides an “absolutely subsistence” income in retirement.

The position is similar with Hong Kong’s scheme, which is newer. “If you want more than that, you should have saved your own money or will have to keep on working,” he says.

Personally, Robinson, who has just turned 55, intends to keep working for as long as he can. “I find work stimulating and intellectually satisfying; it is how I prefer to spend my day. Money is not the primary motive.”

Andrew Heng, executive director of Baker Tilly Malaysia, says his professional clients tend to remain working for as long as possible.

Many give priority to providing their children with an overseas education in Australia or the UK over their retirement savings.

His higher net-worth clients with their own businesses typically keep working into their old age, perhaps “unsure of what to do if they didn’t work”.

Financial abuse of elders

With people living longer, the financial abuse of elders is becoming a worrying issue for accountants.

In Australia, adult children, particularly adult sons, are the most common perpetrators.

Financial abuse isn’t necessarily outright theft; it’s when someone illegally or improperly uses a person’s money, assets or property. It can include:

  • Misappropriation of property, money or valuables
  • Forced changes to a will or other legal document
  • Denial of the right to access personal funds
  • Forging of signatures – on bank accounts or legal documents
  • Misusing enduring power of attorney
  • Going shopping for groceries and not returning the change

CPA Australia’s Victorian Third Age Network Committee is part of a taskforce that, in conjunction with CPA Australia, will develop tools for accountants to more easily identify financial abuse of elders, assist their clients to find help, and prevent it occurring in the first place.

Identifying financial abuse is important, both for the victims and for public practitioners avoiding the risk of a negligence action. Accountants should be sensitive to any changes in a client’s behaviour or financial situation.

“Signs to look for include a client wanting to transfer assets unexpectedly, or if they are always accompanied by a family member to appointments, which may prevent honest conversations,” advises Sue Hendy, CEO of Australia’s Council on the Ageing.

Accountants should also consider that family relationships change. “Relationships and households can break down,” says Sue Marshall, general manager of Victoria Plus at Victoria University.

“If it was a business relationship, people in professions like accounting would ensure that certain safeguards were put in place.”

The elder financial abuse website and toolkit is scheduled for release in mid-2015 (look for it on

Until then, go to and do a search for “elder abuse concerns” for a contact list of relevant bodies.

Further reading

Access the following CPA Library items online at

The New Retirementality: Planning your life and living your dreams … at any age you want (eBook)

For Old Times’ Sake” by Rick Morton, The Australian, Apr 15, 2014

Older and Wiser” by Peter Garber, T+D, 2013

This article is from the November 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.

Your resume is your Golden Ticket to the interview.

Charlie Bucket needed a Golden Ticket to tour the Wonka Chocolate Factory.  You need a Golden Ticket to get invited to interview.  Charlie was lucky to find a ticket in a candy bar.  You aren’t that lucky.  You need a résumé that will get you to the interview.

The only duty your résumé has is to get you to the interview.   It doesn’t get you a job, only the interview.  After that, it’s up to you to get the job.  Wonka only issued five tickets.  Companies don’t invite many more than that to interview.  You can’t buy an interview; your résumé has to show you are the best candidate available.
To be successful in its purpose, your résumé has to capture the attention of the reader within seconds for the reader to continue reading.  Therefore, place your best information above the fold.  Your accomplishments, achievements, honors, awards, skills, and other information should distinguish you from among all the other candidates.
To be read by a human, the résumé must turn up in a search of the application tracking database.  Accomplish this by using keywords found in the job posting that will match the search criteria.  The higher the match between your qualifications expressed by the keywords and the job requirements, the better chance your résumé gets read.
A résumé filled with keywords take practice and skill.  It isn’t difficult after you get the hang of it.  Isolating the terms that are keywords is easy to do.  I isolate the terms into separate bullet statements then match the skills and experience of the candidate to each bullet statement.   Once done, it is easy to insert the keywords into the proper places in the résumé.
Other elements are important in the creation of the resume.  One–include only relevant information.  Two–the format should be clean and easy to read. Three–avoid design elements that are not accepted by the application tracking system. And four–write a résumé that demonstrates what you can do for the company.
A résumé that follows these guidelines creates the Golden Ticket to the interview.  While at the interview, you are under inspection to see if you match your résumé.  Honesty and are in all your statements.  Bragging is important, but there is a fine line between bragging and exaggerating.

Charlie Bucket was honest; kind and well-behaved.  Charlie won the factory.  If you want to win the job you need to be honest, kind and knowledgeable.   Even though you are these things and more, you need to get to the interview.  Your Golden Ticket is your precisely crafted resume.

Source:  Arleen Bradley blog