Where do you belong among the retirement statistics?

Group of Senior Retirement Friends Happiness Concept

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Every year the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts out its ‘Retirement and Retirement Intentions’ report. The latest (2016-17 report) gives a fascinating statistical look at what’s happening. (Not everyone finds statistics fascinating, of course.)

Five areas are highlighted below. Where do you see yourself among the statistics?

1. Age at retirement

The average age at retirement from the labour force for persons aged 45 years and over in 2016–17 was 55.3 years (58.8 years for men and 52.3 years for women).

Of the 1.7 million men who retired from the labour force: 25% had retired aged less than 55 years; 46% had retired aged 55–64 years; 29% had retired aged 65 years and over.

The 1.9 million women who retired from the labour force had retired on average at a younger age than men: 46% had retired aged less than 55 years; 39% had retired aged 55–64 years; 15% had retired aged 65 years and over.

The average age at retirement for those who retired in the past five years was 62.9 years (63.6 years for men and 62.1 years for women).

This average is well before the retirement age for eligibility for the Age Pension, but it illustrates that there are many variables that come into play with retirement.

2. Reasons for ceasing work

The reasons listed for retiring are the following:

Reached retirement age/eligible for superannuation/pension: men 36%; women 22%

Own sickness/injury/disability: men 21%; women 12%

Retrenched/dismissed/no work available: men 7%; women 5%

Others: To care for ill/disabled/elderly person; to have a holiday/pursue leisure activities; temporary or seasonal job.

The tragedy seen in these statistics is that 28% of men and 17% of women were forced to retire—either through health issues of work loss.

3. Main sources of income in retirement

One group had no known source of personal income, for three others the sources were identified:

No personal income: men 8%; women 29%

Government pension/allowance: men 49%; women 45%

Government pension/allowance and superannuation/annuity/allocated pension: men 33%; women 17%

Partner’s income the main source of funds for living costs: men 9%; women 37%

4. Superannuation and how it was used

There are quite a few ways superannuation has been used at retirement.

Of the 3.6 million persons aged 45 years or over who have retired from the labour force, 65% (2.3 million) had made contributions to a superannuation scheme: men  74 %; women 58%

Of those who had made contributions, more than half (52%) received all or part of their superannuation funds as a lump sum payment.

Many who received a lump sum payment used it to pay off or improve their existing home or purchase a new home: men 36%; women 32%

Others reinvested their lump sum payment into a bank account, personal savings or other investment: men 21%; women 19%

And others invested in an approved deposit fund, deferred annuity, or other superannuation scheme: men 18%; women 13%

Of the 2.3 million retired persons aged 45 years and over who had contributed to a superannuation scheme, men were more likely to have contributed for 20 years or more: men 59%; women  38%

5. Intended age to retire

Of the 3.9 million who indicated that they intend to retire from the labour force

40% (1.6 million) did not know the age at which they would retire: men 36 %; women 44%

Of those who indicated a retirement age

20% intend to retire 70 years and older: men 22%; women 18%

50% intend to retire between 65 and 69 years: men 53%; women 47%

23% intend to retire between 60 and 64 years: men 19%; women 27%

7% intend to retire between 45 and 59 years: men 6%; women 8%

The average age at which persons intend to retire was 65 years: men 65.5 years; women 64.4 years

The survey found that the main factors influencing the decision about when to retire are:

Financial security: men 41%; women 34%

Personal health or physical abilities: men 21%; women 21%

Reaching the eligibility age for an age (or service) pension: men 13%; women 13%

Statistics can help tell a story. In this case, they give an overview of what’s happening in the retirement scene. The important message here is that there is no one way or time to retire. That’s up to you—unless problems arise.

There’s more in the report. You can check it out here.

Bruce Manners is the author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire, and founder of RetireNotes.com

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Category: Planning

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