Older Australians are increasingly accepting of the need to work until later in life but many are still overly optimistic about having saved enough to live comfortably once they do retire.

A report, released on Monday by the Financial Services Council and Commonwealth Bank, says the notion of retiring at 60 is becoming redundant, with 72 per cent of Australians over the age of 50 willing to stay in the workforce for longer.

But many among the 65 per cent of those who say they are satisfied they have saved enough to provide comfortably for their retirement could be in for a shock.

Consultancy firm Towers Watson last year said that just 53 per cent of couples and 22 per cent of single people were actually on track for a comfortable level of retirement income.

“People in that age group are starting to realise they literally do not have enough money to sustain that level of income in retirement,” CBA’s General Manager Retirement Nicolette Rubinsztein said.

Almost two thirds of those interviewed for the FSC-CBA Older Workers report said money was the main reason they continue working.

This year’s intergenerational report by the federal government had already confirmed Australians will need to work longer to maintain the financial health of both themselves and the economy.


“Supporting older workers in the workforce is paramount to addressing our longevity challenges and maintaining the health of our retirement system,” Ms Rubinsztein said.

The good news, according to Monday’s report, is that older workers say they are encountering less age-related discrimination.

“We are beginning to see a positive shift in how society and the workplace values older workers,” FSC Chief Executive Officer Sally Loane said.

“Employers are increasingly embracing the unique skills and experience that older workers contribute and are introducing programs to train and retrain mature staff.

“From a macro perspective, it appears the circumstances are just right to promote the workforce participation of mature age Australians, Ms Loane said.

Michael Morgan, managing partner of Kreab, which conducted the research, said the global financial crisis may have done Australians a favour by making many realise they need to work longer to cover all eventualities.


“People watched large dollar figures being sliced off superannuation and whatever other financial plans they had,” Mr Morgan said.

“Maybe it’s a greater experience and understanding of ebbs and flows, of risks, threats, security and safety.”


* 61 per cent of those over 50 say money is the main reason they keep working

* 72 per cent would keep working irrespective of finances, up from 53 per cent two years ago

* 49 per cent say there are no barriers to continuing at work


* 83 per cent say they have not experienced age discrimination or seen it against others

* 65 per cent say they are satisfied with their savings plan for retirement, up from 42 per cent two years ago

* Source: FSC-CBA Older Workers Report 2015 (sample of 500 people aged between 50 and 75)

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