Peo­ple are work­ing for longer but they are choos­ing to do it part time, Daniel Hoy writes

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page -

LIV­ING longer and the need for a greater in­come in re­tire­ment is caus­ing more work­ers aged over 65 years to stay in or re-en­ter the work­force.

There has been a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the past five years in the num­ber of ma­ture-age peo­ple, aged 45 years and over, who are in work.

About 4.3 mil­lion work­ers were ma­ture-age in 2011, com­pared to 3.8 mil­lion in 2007.

It is partly a con­se­quence of the age­ing pop­u­la­tion but no­table is growth in the 65 years and over age bracket, in which Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics fig­ures show full-time em­ploy­ment in­creased by 55 per cent and part-time work grew by 60 per cent from Fe­bru­ary 2007 to Fe­bru­ary 2012.

There are more part-time work­ers (194,000) aged 65 years and over than full-time staff (164,000), com­pared to the to­tal work­force av­er­age of 29 per cent. Since 2007, the pro­por­tion of peo­ple aged 65 years and over who are em­ployed has grown from 8 per cent to 11 per cent.

The num­ber of peo­ple aged 60 years and over is also at a record high, with 200,000 more peo­ple in work than in 2007, or 626,000 work­ers, with about one-third mov­ing to re­tire­ment in part-time work.

The trend is at­trib­uted to to­day’s gen­er­a­tion in their golden years gen­er­ally be­ing health­ier, more ac­tive and so are liv­ing longer than their pre­de­ces­sors, with greater in­cli­na­tion to work and need­ing more money to last through their re­tire­ment. It also re­flects the re­cent eco­nomic down­turn, which has re­quired older work­ers to look at how to sup­ple­ment their re­tire­ment in­come.

Ex­perts warn, how­ever, they must be care­ful that work­ing helps, rather than hin­ders, them fi­nan­cially.

‘‘ The chal­leng­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions in re­cent times has im­pacted neg­a­tively on the su­per­an­nu­a­tion of Aus­tralian re­tirees,’’ Prescott Se­cu­ri­ties prin­ci­pal and fi­nan­cial ad­viser Ben Prisk says.

‘‘ Many are now seek­ing to go back to work part time or on a ca­sual ba­sis to boost their re­tire­ment in­come and fund their life­style.

‘‘ From a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive there is a range of re­lated is­sues that will need to be con­sid­ered to en­sure you’re op­ti­mis­ing your wealth po­si­tion.’’

While the fi­nan­cial reper­cus­sions must be ex­am­ined by re­tirees re­turn­ing to the work­force, the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits for the busi­ness they are join­ing can be im­mense.

‘‘ Re­search shows a ma­ture worker is of­ten more re­li­able than a younger worker,’’ ca­reers coach War­ren Frehse says. ‘‘ They of­fer so much ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘ Some busi­nesses are hap­pier to of­fer em­ploy­ment to older work­ers as they are able to re­late bet­ter to their cus- tomers, es­pe­cially where their cus­tomer base is of a sim­i­lar age pro­file.

‘‘ Older cus­tomers pre­fer to deal with peo­ple who un­der­stand their needs bet­ter.’’

For some re­tirees, there will be the op­tion of earn­ing a cer­tain level of in­come while re­main­ing el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive part of the age pen­sion.

For oth­ers there are strate­gies avail­able, such as cre­at­ing a tran­si­tion to re­tire­ment in­come streams that al­low you to ac­cess some of your su­per as well as gen­er­at­ing ad­di­tional in­come in a tax­ef­fec­tive way. Prisk says el­i­gi­bil­ity for the age pen­sion re­quired sat­is­fy­ing the In­come and As­set Tests.

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