Rising Number of Working Seniors Can’t Afford to Retire

By: ce | 10 Jun 2016


More Australians are working well into their old age because they say they simply can’t afford to retire, according to a new study from Willis Towers Watson. Its research found 17 percent of Australians over 65 are employed, compared to just 8 percent in 1993.

David McNeice, Willis Towers Watson’s senior consultant, told Money Management magazine that employed Australians faced significant short- and long-term financial stresses, largely due to inadequate retirement incomes.

“There are clear warning signs of a potential problem of hidden pensioners being employed, unable to retire, and much less productive in the workplace,” he explained. “Short-term worries relate to the current costs of living, including debt servicing. Long-term worries relate primarily to the adequacy of resources to provide income in retirement.”

Fifty-two percent of Australian workers told researchers they’d started worrying more about retirement security in the last two years. The same percent felt they’d probably still be working at 70 years of age.

Financial worries can cause a host of other problems, including increased overall stress and poorer health. In the workplace, people worried about their financial situations are likely to be less engaged and less productive. They’re also more likely to have more days off or put in extra hours because they’re worried about their job security. 

Mr McNeil also noted a lack of understanding between employers and employees about employee stress levels.

“Employers typically believe that employee stress is caused by a lack of work/life balance and inadequate staffing,” he said. “Employees typically believe that stress is caused by low pay.”

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