6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2012 to June 2013 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/12/2013   
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OVERVIEW

The 2012–13 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) found that of the estimated 8.5 million people aged 45 years and over who had, at some time, worked for two weeks or more, 4.7 million (56%) were in the labour force, 3.3 million (39%) had retired from the labour force, and the remaining 407,000 (5%) were not currently in the labour force but had not retired (Table 1).

For those aged 45–49 years, just 5% were retired, compared to 16% of 55–59 year olds, 63% of 65–69 year olds and 84% of those aged 70 years and over (Table 1).

In 2012–13, of men aged 45 years and over, 61% were in the labour force, 34% had retired, and 4% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired. In contrast, 47% of women aged 45 years and over were in the labour force, 41% had retired and the remaining 6% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired or had never worked (Table 1).


PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER, Labour force and retirement status—By sex, 2012–13
Graph 1 Persons aged 45 years and over


RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE

There were 3.3 million people aged 45 years and over who reported that they were retired from the labour force. This group comprised 1.5 million men and 1.9 million women. Just over half of all retired people were aged 70 years and over (56% of retired men and 49% of retired women) (Table 1).

Age at retirement

It is important to note that data on retirement age presented in this publication only refer to 'surviving' retirees aged 45 years and over in 2012–13. Based on this, the distribution of retirement age in this population may not be representative of the age at which all people retire. For example, based on Australian life expectancy, a person who retired aged 40 years in 1988 (aged 65 years in 2013) would more likely be alive to participate in this survey than a person who retired aged 65 years in 1988 (aged 90 years in 2013). This effect will be more pronounced for estimates presented in relation to people who retired a long time ago, but will have some affect on all estimates, particularly as 33% of the retired population included in this publication retired more than 20 years ago. It should also be noted that people living in non-private dwellings such as retirement homes are excluded from this survey. This may result in the average age at retirement data presented in this publication, being lower than reality (Table 3).

PERSONS RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE, Age at retirement (years) — By sex, 2012–13
Graph - Persons retired from the labour force, age at retirement (years) - by sex, 2012-13



The average age at retirement from the labour force for people aged 45 years and over in 2012–13 was 53.8 years (58.5 years for men and 50.0 years for women). Of the 1.5 million men who had retired from the labour force (Table 3):
  • 25% had retired aged less than 55 years;
  • 50% had retired aged 55–64 years; and
  • 25% had retired aged 65 years and over.

The 1.9 million women who had retired from the labour force had retired on average at a younger age than men. The ages at which women retirees had retired from the labour force were as follows (Table 3):
  • 55% had retired aged less than 55 years;
  • 36% had retired aged 55–64 years; and
  • 9% had retired aged 65 years and over.

The average age at retirement for recent retirees (those who have retired in the last five years) was 61.5 years. Within this group, there was a difference between the retirement age of men and women, with women retiring a little younger than men (the average retirement ages for this group were 63.3 years for men and 59.6 years for women) (Table 3).

Reasons for ceasing last job

Of the 2.2 million retired people who had worked in the last 20 years, 93% had held a full-time job at some stage. For nearly three-quarters (71%) of those who held a full-time job, their last job held prior to retirement was full-time. The remainder worked part-time before retiring (Table 5).

Among both retired men and women whose last job was fewer than 20 years ago, a commonly reported main reason for ceasing their last job was 'reached retirement age/eligible for superannuation/pension' (44% of men and 30% of women). These people had the highest average retirement ages of 62.8 years (63.5 years for men and 61.8 years for women). Other commonly reported main reasons given by people for ceasing their last job were 'own sickness, injury or disability' (25% of men and 21% of women) and 'retrenched/dismissed/no work available' (10% of men and 10% of women) (Table 6).


PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO HAVE RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
Selected reason for ceasing last job, By sex, 2012–13

Graph - Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired from the labour force, selected reason for ceasing last job, By sex, 2012-13


Sources of income during retirement

For men, commonly reported main sources of personal income at retirement were 'government pension/allowance' (51%) and 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (25%). For women, commonly reported main sources of personal income at retirement were also 'government pension/allowance' (42%) and 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (10%). Under half (44%) of women reported 'partner's income' as their main source of funds for meeting living costs at retirement (Table 7).


PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO HAVE RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
Selected main source of personal income at retirement, By sex, 2012–13

Graph 4 Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired


For many people, their main source of personal income in 2012–13 at the time of the survey, changed from that at the beginning of their retirement with more people becoming reliant on a 'government pension/allowance'. While 1.5 million (46%) of those aged 45 years and over who had retired reported that a 'government pension/allowance' was their main source of personal income at retirement, almost 2.2 million (66% of all those who were retired) indicated that this was now their main source of current personal income. This represents an increase of 45% compared with the number of people who stated that it was their main source of personal income at retirement. Other commonly reported main sources of current personal income were 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (15%) and 'dividends or interest' (8%) (Table 7).

The proportion of women reporting 'no personal income' as their main source of personal income decreased from 37% at retirement to 7% for current income, 18% of women reported 'partner's income' as their main current source of funds for meeting living costs (Table 7).
    PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO HAVE RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
    Selected main source of current personal income, By sex, 2012–13

    Graph 5 Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired


    The proportions whose main source of income at retirement was 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension', 'dividends or interest' or 'rental property income' and continued to rely on them as their main source of current income were 57%, 43% and 40% respectively (Table 8).

    Superannuation scheme membership

    Of the 3.3 million people aged 45 years or over who were retired from the labour force, 2.0 million (61%) had made contributions to a superannuation scheme. Men were more likely to have made contributions to a superannuation scheme than women. Just under three quarters (72%) of retired men aged 45 years and over had contributed compared to 52% of women (Table 10).

    Of those who had made contributions, 55% had received all or part of their superannuation funds as a lump sum payment (54% of men and 57% of women). Many of those who received a lump sum payment used it to pay off or improve their existing home or purchase a new home (32% of men and 31% of women) or to buy or pay off a motor vehicle (14% of men and 11% of women). Some reinvested their lump sum payment into a bank account, personal savings or other investment (24% of men and 20% of women), or an approved deposit fund, deferred annuity or other superannuation scheme (19% of men and 13% of women) (Table 10).

    Of the 2.0 million retired people aged 45 years and over who had contributed to a superannuation scheme, men were more likely to have contributed for a longer period of time than women. Just over half of the men in this group (55%) had contributed for 20 years or more, compared to 25% of women in the same group (Table 10).

    PREVIOUSLY RETIRED

    There were 191,200 people aged 45 years and over who had previously retired from the labour force but at the time of the survey were either in the labour force or were planning to look for, or take up, work in the future. Most of this group were women (114,000), and most of these women were in the labour force at the time of survey (92,700) (Table 15).

    Commonly reported reasons for returning to the labour force were 'financial need' (42%) and 'bored/needed something to do' (30%) (Table 15).

    INTENTIONS TO RETIRE FROM THE LABOUR FORCE

    Of the 4.7 million people in the labour force aged 45 years and over, 3.7 million (79%) indicated that they intend to retire from the labour force in the future. Of the remaining 997,100 people:

    • 385,500 did not know whether they intend to retire from the labour force;
    • 605,400 never intend to retire from the labour force; and
    • 6,200 had never worked.

      PERSONS IN THE LABOUR FORCE AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER, Retirement and retirement intentions

      2006–07
      2008–09
      2010–11
      2012–13(a)

      '000
      '000
      '000
      '000

      Full-time workers(b)
      2 739.8
      2 964.4
      3 306.1
      3 176.1
      Intends to retire from the labour force
      2 209.0
      2 337.1
      2 632.6
      2 544.2
      Did not know whether will retire
      249.3
      232.4
      250.2
      234.9
      Never intends to retire

      281.5
      395.0
      423.3
      397.0
      Part-time workers(b)
      1 112.8
      1 268.7
      1 487.2
      1 401.3
      Intends to retire from the labour force
      889.3
      963.8
      1135.4
      1082.5
      Did not know whether will retire
      134.7
      139.6
      131.5
      134.4
      Never intends to retire

      88.3
      165.3
      220.3
      184.4
      Unemployed
      118.8
      82.1
      149.0
      169.1
      Intends to retire from the labour force
      82.0
      59.8
      121.2
      122.6
      Did not know whether will retire
      14.0
      5.6
      17.6
      16.2
      Never intends to retire
      9.0
      15.1
      10.2
      24.0
      Had never worked
      14.0
      1.6
      6.2


      In the labour force
      3971.4
      4315.3
      4942.3
      4746.4
      Intends to retire from the labour force
      3180.3
      3360.7
      3889.2
      3749.3
      Did not know whether will retire
      398.0
      377.6
      399.3
      385.5
      Never intends to retire
      379.3
      575.4
      653.8
      605.4
      Had never worked
      14.0
      1.6
      6.2


      – nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
      (a) Caution should be exercised when comparing changes over time in this table. Each financial year's data was calculated using the best data available at the time of publication.
      However, the 2012–13 data has been rebenchmarked using revised Estimated resident population. Refer to paragraphs 13 and 20 of the Explanatory Notes for more information.
      (b) Based on hours usually worked per week (in all jobs).

      For employed persons who intended to retire from the labour force, 70% worked full-time. Of full-time workers, 37% intended to move into part-time work before retiring from the labour force, and 31% intended to continue with full-time work until retiring from the labour force (Table 1).

      Plans to phase in retirement

      Of the 925,000 people who intended to continue with full-time work until retirement, 63% intended to remain with their current employer and had no further plans to phase in retirement. A further 17% intended to remain with their current employer but with less demanding duties. Of those who planned to work full-time until retirement, only 7% intended to change their employer before retiring (Table 14).

      Of those working full-time and intending to retire, approximately 40% people intended to leave full-time work and take up part-time work before retirement. Of these, 61% planned to continue on with their current employer, 25% intended to change their employer and the remaining did not know whether they would change employers. Of those intending to work part-time and change their employer, 54% planned to change to a different line of work, 34% planned to work on a contract basis and 27% intended to work more hours from home (Table 14).

      Age intends to retire

      Of the 3.7 million people in the labour force who indicated that they intend to retire from the labour force, 1.4 million people (37%) did not know the age at which they would retire (34% of men and 42% of women). Of those who did indicate an age (Table 11):

      • 17% intend to retire 70 years and older (19% of men and 15% of women);
      • 49% intend to retire between 65 and 69 years (53% of men and 45% of women);
      • 25% intend to retire between 60 and 64 years (22% of men and 29% of women); and
      • 9% intend to retire between 45 and 59 years (7% of men and 12% of women).

      The average age at which people intended to retire was 63.4 years (63.8 years for men and 63.0 years for women) (Table 11).

      Main factor influencing decision about when to retire

      For those in the labour force who intend to retire, the most common main factors influencing their decision about when they would retire were 'financial security' (39% of men and 36% of women), 'personal health or physical abilities' (23% of men and 23% of women), and 'reaching the eligibility age for an age (or service) pension' (13% of men and 11% of women) (Table 11).

        PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO INTEND TO RETIRE FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
        Selected main factor influencing decision about when to retire, By sex, 2012–13

        Graph 6 Persons aged 45 years and over who intend to retire

        Main expected source of income at retirement

        Just under half (49%) of the 3.7 million people aged 45 years and over who indicated that they intend to retire from the labour force reported their main expected source of personal income at retirement as 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension'. More than half of men who intended to retire reported this (54%), as did 43% of women. Just over 93% of people intending to retire indicated that they had contributed to a superannuation scheme at some time, compared with 61% of people who had already retired (Tables 10 and 12).

        Another commonly reported main expected source of personal income was a 'government pension/allowance' (27%), and this was reported by 24% of men intending to retire and 31% of women (Table 12).
        The main expected source of funds for meeting living costs at retirement varied between men and women. Although personal income was a common expected source for both men (76%) and women (63%), 16% of women expected to rely on 'partner's income' in contrast to only 4% of men (Table 12).

        PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO INTEND TO RETIRE FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
        Main expected source of personal income at retirement, By sex, 2012–13

        Graph 7 Persons aged 45 years and over who intend to retire


        There were some differences reported by those who had already retired compared to those who intended to retire regarding their main (expected) source of personal income at retirement. While 46% of people aged 45 years and over who had retired reported a 'government pension or allowance' as their main source of income at retirement, only 27% of people aged 45 years and over who were intending to retire indicated that this would be their main expected source of income at retirement. Although 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' was reported as their main source of income at retirement by just 17% of retirees, half of those who intended to retire (49%) expected that this would be their main source of income at retirement (Tables 9 and 12).

        Similar differences emerged for main (expected) source of funds for meeting living costs at retirement. While only 10% of those intending to retire expected to rely on 'partner's income', this was reported as the main source of funds for meeting living costs by 27% of retirees (Tables 9 and 12).