6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2016   
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OVERVIEW

The 201415 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) found that of the estimated 9.1 million persons aged 45 years and over who had, at some time, worked for two weeks or more, 4.7 million (52%) were in the labour force, 3.6 million (40%) had retired from the labour force, and 0.7 million (8%) were not currently in the labour force but had not retired or had never worked (Table 1).

For those aged 45-49 years, just 8% were retired, compared with 18% of 55-59 year olds, 66% of 65–69 year olds and 86% of those aged 70 years and over (Table 1).

In 201415, of men aged 45 years and over, 58% were in the labour force, 37% had retired, and 4% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired. In contrast, 46% of women aged 45 years and over were in the labour force, 43% had retired and 6% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired (Table 1).

PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER, Labour force and retirement status—By sex, 201415 (a)
Graph 1: Labour force and retirement status, By sex


RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE

In 201415, there were 3.6 million persons, aged 45 years and over, who reported that they were retired from the labour force. This group comprised 1.6 million men and 2.0 million women. Just over half of all retired persons were aged 70 years and over (55% of retired men and 50% of retired women) (Table 1).

Age at retirement

It is important to note that data on retirement age presented in this summary only refer to 'surviving' retirees aged 45 years and over in 201415. Based on this, the distribution of retirement age in this population may not be representative of the age at which all persons retire. For example, based on Australian life expectancy, a person who retired aged 40 years in 1990 (aged 65 years in 2015) would more likely be alive to participate in this survey than a person who retired aged 65 years in 1990 (aged 90 years in 2015). This effect will be more pronounced for estimates presented in relation to persons who retired a long time ago, but will have some affect on all estimates, particularly as 31% of the retired population included in this summary retired more than 20 years ago. It should also be noted that persons living in non-private dwellings such as retirement homes are excluded from this survey. This may result in the average age at retirement data being lower than reality (Table 3).

PERSONS RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE, Age at retirement (years) — By sex, 201415
Graph 2: Age at retirement, By sex


The average age at retirement from the labour force for persons aged 45 years and over in 201415 was 54.4 years (58.2 years for men and 51.5 years for women). Of the 1.6 million men who had retired from the labour force (Table 3):
  • 24% had retired aged less than 55 years;
  • 50% had retired aged 55–64 years; and
  • 26% had retired aged 65 years and over.

The 2.0 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):
  • 52% had retired aged less than 55 years;
  • 38% had retired aged 55–64 years; and
  • 10% 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 62.6 years for men and 60.4 years for women) (Table 3).

Reasons for ceasing last job

Among both retired men and women whose last job was less than 20 years ago, a commonly reported main reason for ceasing their last job was 'reached retirement age/eligible for superannuation/pension' (37% of men and 19% of women). These persons had average retirement ages of 63.4 years (64.1 years for men and 61.9 years for women). Other commonly reported main reasons given by persons for ceasing their last job were 'own sickness, injury or disability' (19% of men and 14% of women) and 'retrenched/dismissed/no work available' (9% of men and 5% of women) (Table 5).

PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO HAVE RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
Selected main reason for ceasing last job, By sex, 201415
Graph 3: Selected main reason for ceasing last job, By sex

Sources of income during retirement

For men who have retired, commonly reported main sources of personal income were 'government pension/allowance' (51%) and 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (28%). For women who have retired, commonly reported main sources of personal income were also 'government pension/allowance' (43%) and 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (13%). For persons who have retired, just under half (42%) of women reported 'partner's income' as their main source of funds for meeting living costs compared to 8% of men (Table 6).

PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO HAVE RETIRED FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
Selected main source of personal income at retirement, By sex, 201415
Graph 4: Selected main source of personal income at retirement, By sex

Superannuation scheme membership

Of the 3.6 million persons aged 45 years or over who were retired from the labour force, 2.3 million (64%) 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 (74%) of retired men aged 45 years and over had contributed compared to 56% of women (Table 8).

Of those who had made contributions, 54% had received all or part of their superannuation funds as a lump sum payment (55% of men and 54% 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 (33% of men and 35% of women) or to buy or pay off a motor vehicle (15% of men and 14% of women). Some reinvested their lump sum payment into a bank account, personal savings or other investment (21% of men and 21% of women), or an approved deposit fund, deferred annuity or other superannuation scheme (18% of men and 12% of women) (Table 8).

Of the 2.3 million retired persons 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 (57%) had contributed for 20 years or more, compared with 32% of women in the same group (Table 8).

PREVIOUSLY RETIRED

There were 185,400 persons 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 (132,300), and most of these women were in the labour force at the time of survey (102,600) (Table 12).

Commonly reported reasons for returning to the labour force were 'financial need' (43%) and 'bored/needed something to do' (28%) (Table 12).

INTENTIONS TO RETIRE FROM THE LABOUR FORCE

Of the 4.7 million persons in the labour force aged 45 years and over, 3.8 million (80%) indicated that they intended to retire from the labour force in the future. Of the remaining persons:
  • 403,800 did not know whether they intended to retire from the labour force;
  • 571,100 never intended to retire from the labour force; and
  • 4,200 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
2014–15 (a)
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
Full-time workers (b)
2 739.8
2 964.4
3 306.1
3 176.1
3 145.7
Intends to retire from the labour force
2 209.0
2 337.1
2 632.6
2 544.2
2 498.6
Did not know whether will retire
249.3
232.4
250.2
234.9
243.6
Never intends to retire
281.5
395.0
423.3
397.0
404.6
Part-time workers
1 112.8
1 268.7
1 487.2
1 401.3
1 414.5
Intends to retire from the labour force
889.3
963.8
1 135.4
1082.5
1 115.2
Did not know whether will retire
134.7
139.6
131.5
134.4
141.4
Never intends to retire
88.3
165.3
220.3
184.4
154.2
Unemployed
118.8
82.1
149.0
169.1
186.7
Intends to retire from the labour force
82.0
59.8
121.2
122.6
151.0
Did not know whether will retire
14.0
5.6
17.6
16.2
18.8
Never intends to retire
9.0
15.1
10.2
24.0
12.3
Had never worked
14.0
1.6
-
6.2
4.2
In the labour force
3 971.4
4 315.3
4 942.3
4 746.4
4 741.0
Intends to retire from the labour force
3 180.3
3 360.7
3889.2
3 749.3
3 764.8
Did not know whether will retire
398.0
377.6
399.3
385.5
403.8
Never intends to retire
379.3
575.4
653.8
605.4
571.1
Had never worked
14.0
1.6
-
6.2
4.2
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Caution should be exercised when comparing changes over time in this table. To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a new technique has been used in 201415 to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Please refer to paragraph 17 in the Explanatory Notes for further information.
(b) Based on hours usually worked per week (in all jobs).


For employed persons who intended to retire from the labour force, 69% worked full-time. Of full-time workers, 37% intended to move into part-time work before retiring from the labour force, and 30% intended to continue with full-time work until retiring from the labour force (Table 1).

Plans to phase in retirement

Of the 887,100 persons who intended to continue with full-time work until retirement, 72% intended to remain with their current employer and had no further plans to phase in retirement. A further 12% 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 11).

Of those intending to retire, approximately 40% of persons intended to leave full-time work and take up part-time work before retirement. Of these, 65% planned to continue on with their current employer, 21% intended to change their employer and the remainder did not know whether they would change employers. Of those intending to work part-time and change their employer, 52% planned to change to a different line of work, 34% planned to work on a contract basis and 20% intended to work more hours from home (Table 11).

Age intends to retire

Of the 3.8 million persons in the labour force who indicated that they intended to retire from the labour force, 1.3 million persons (35%) did not know the age at which they would retire (32% of men and 38% of women). Of those who did indicate an age (Table 9):
  • 23% intended to retire 70 years and older (26% of men and 18% of women);
  • 48% intended to retire between 65 and 69 years (51% of men and 46% of women);
  • 22% intended to retire between 60 and 64 years (18% of men and 26% of women); and
  • 8% intended to retire between 45 and 59 years (6% of men and 10% of women).

The average age at which persons intended to retire was 65.1 years (65.7 years for men and 64.5 years for women) (Table 9).

Main factor influencing decision about when to retire

For those in the labour force who intended to retire, the most common main factors influencing their decision about when they would retire were 'financial security' (40% of men and 35% of women), 'personal health or physical abilities' (23% for both men and women), and 'reaching the eligibility age for an age (or service) pension'
(13% for both men and women) (Table 9).

PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO INTENDED TO RETIRE FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
Selected main factor influencing decision about when to retire, By sex, 201415
Graph 5: Selected main factor influencing decision about when to retire, By sex

Main expected source of income at retirement

Just over half (53%) of the 3.8 million persons aged 45 years and over who indicated that they intended 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 (57%), and 49% of women. Approximately 95% of persons intending to retire indicated that they had contributed to a superannuation scheme at some time, compared with 64% of persons who had already retired (Tables 8 and 10).

Another commonly reported main expected source of personal income was a 'government pension/allowance' (27%), and this was reported by 25% of men intending to retire and 30% of women (Table 10).

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 (81%) and women (70%), 13% of women expected to rely on 'partner's income' in contrast to only 3% of men (Table 10).

PERSONS AGED 45 YEARS AND OVER WHO INTENDED TO RETIRE FROM THE LABOUR FORCE,
Main expected source of personal income at retirement, By sex, 201415
Graph 6: Main expected source of personal income at retirement, By sex

There were some differences reported by those who had already retired compared with those who intended to retire regarding their main (expected) source of personal income at retirement. While 47% of persons 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 persons 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 19% of retirees, just over half of those who intended to retire (53%) expected that this would be their main source of income at retirement (Tables 7 and 10).

Similar differences emerged for main (expected) source of funds for meeting living costs at retirement. While only 7% 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 26% of retirees (Tables 7 and 10).