Most Baby Boomers have no intention of retiring

by David Ellis

Research from the University of Adelaide shows that almost three-quarters of South Australian Baby Boomers do not intend to completely give up work.

In a survey of almost 900 people aged 50-65, only 26% said they would completely retire, while 74% said they would either: move from full-time to part-time employment (42%); reduce their part-time hours (25%); or not retire at all (7%).

The study was conducted by a team of researchers in the University's Population Research and Outcome Studies unit (School of Medicine) and the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre (School of Social Sciences) to better understand the health, social and economic factors involved in people's intentions to retire.

"What surprised us about the results of this survey is the large number of Baby Boomers who indicated that they would either just reduce their hours and keep working beyond the age of 65 years, or not retire at all," says study co-author Dr Helen Feist, Deputy Director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide.

"This group represents almost three-quarters of Baby Boomers surveyed, which is a significant number with major implications for the future of the Australian workforce."

"Australia's culture of early retirement, which has been so pervasive over so many years, is being replaced by a culture of gradual retirement, with continued part-time employment."

"At a time when there is national debate about the retirement age being lifted to 70 by 2035, studies such as this will help us to better understand what our is intending to do, and why. Importantly, this survey was conducted before the current Federal Government was elected," Dr Feist says.

The survey shows that Baby Boomer women, those with lower education levels, and those who save their money regularly are the most likely to retire completely from the workforce. The authors also believe that the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 has impacted on people's intentions to retire.

"There are many implications here for policymakers across the workplace, employment and health sectors," says Dr Feist. "We need to ensure that policies are in place so that workplaces remain safe, welcoming, flexible and productive for ageing workers."

The results of this were published online in the international journal BMC Public Health.

More information: "A survey of retirement intentions of baby boomers: an overview of health, social and economic determinants." Anne W Taylor, et al. BMC Public Health 2014, 14:355.  DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-355

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