Retirement report: New life, old life

Now is a great time to be an older Australian in the workforce. With full employment, the demand for local, skilled workers is at a record high. It’s becoming more comfortable to work as well. Since COVID, flexible work arrangements have become commonplace and are widely accepted by most employers.In addition, most older Australians want to work longer than previous generations did, transitioning into retirement over time.

But, despite these opportunities and good intentions, most older Australians are not actively planning for the final chapters of their working life. Many of us invest lots of energy into building our careers and spend years, perhaps even decades, planning our ascension up the corporate ladder. And many of us find the time to plan the lifestyle and financial aspects of our future retirement. But too few of us take positive action to improve the circumstances of the inevitable wind-down phase of our working life.

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In this study, we find that the runway to retirement is shorter than expected – most of us don’t work for as long as we intend to. Sometimes the reasons are out of our control; sometimes, they’re not. Whatever the conditions that bring about our retirement, there are always things we can do to prepare and improve our circumstances – and, more importantly, our quality of life. With adviser numbers dwindling and the advice gap widening, it’s important to baseline the experience of those who don’t have access to the services of a professional financial adviser. 

As such, we explore the emotional experience of unadvised Australians over 45 and compare the experience of pre‑retirees with semi-retirees and early retirees. From this perspective, we explore the frameworks for pre‑retirees to plan for their retirement more effectively. What should be incorporated into a retirement plan? When should you start? And what are the measures of success?

For advisers, we explore what risks need to be managed for pre-retiree clients and what that means for advice practices, portfolio construction frameworks and investment decisions.