Planning to be productive: the detailed retirement planning strategies of Australian pre-retirees

12 December 2012

Australia’s ageing population has resulted in a large cohort of Australians approaching retirement. Policy responses have recognised the significance of this, seeking to strengthen the labour force participation of older Australians to, in part, meet the fiscal challenges of an ageing population. The nature of how this cohort transition from work to retirement, such as shifting from full-time to part-time work, will have a significant economic impact.

Further, with increasing life expectancy leading to longer post-working lives for this cohort compared with previous generations, planning is very important to ensure a healthy, financially secure and fulfilling retirement. A recent report released by National Seniors Australia (NSA) and Insuranceline, entitled What Next? Workforce Transitions and Retirement Planning Among Australian Pre-Retirees, addressed these issues using nationally-representative data of Australians aged 50 years and over.

The report analysed retirement planning and workforce transition behaviour, including the extent to which pre-retirees are making plans in regards to financial, health and lifestyle aspects of their lives, how this differs across different population groups, and the characteristics of people that make the most plans. The report found that the most common type of planning is in the financial domain (62% of pre-retirees), with health plans (24-27%) and lifestyle plans (17-26%) less common. Planning is more widespread amongst people with higher education and income, with males more likely to make financial plans and females more likely to have planned for volunteering in retirement.

The intended retirement transitions of full-time workers were also investigated, with about a quarter having made no plans for transition, and a transition to part-time work most common for those who plan across all domains.

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