Retirement can be a tough gig. Let's talk about what this means, why part-time work is on the rise for seniors, and how to create a transition plan.
When Robyn, a ‘retired’ teacher who moved to Queensland after 30 years of teaching, told her friends she was returning to teach part-time, they had to ask why.
Having been employed by the government and with Commonwealth Superannuation, Robyn should have been set for a moderately comfortable retirement. However, as she found after a year of walking the dog, travelling overseas and interstate, playing bridge and visiting her children, retirement, when you’re active and want to travel, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Robyn now has the time to travel overseas and across Australia; what she doesn’t have is the income to support the lifestyle she expected to have when she stopped working full-time.
Most of us look forward to our retirement years – but what we don’t realise is the impact a lower income will have on our wellbeing. Australians, especially women, lack enough superannuation for a comfortable retirement – and they’re returning to work.
For those older Australians on a pension or part pension, part-time work enables them to top up their income without being penalised.
60 isn’t 60 anymore. Just as 40 is the new 30, so 60 is the new 50. Those of us 60 and older aren’t quite ready for the scrap heap and feel we have much to contribute. We go to the gym, walk kilometres training for charity walks, take up new hobbies and volunteer our time to charities or political causes. All these are ways of connecting to our community; however, the most vital community of which we were a part for most of our lives was our ‘work family’.
Five benefits of working past retirement age
1. A renewed sense of purpose
While caring for family members is important, many of us feel a greater sense of belonging and purpose when we put our talents to paid work and make meaningful contributions to our organisation. Many Australians report feeling a loss of identity or purpose once they leave the workforce. Part-time work can be a way to tackle this feeling of loss.
2. Ability to top up super or the pension
As the age at which we can access the pension rises, and as the pension fails to keep up with the cost of living, most of us could use a little extra. The Australian Government offers incentives to older workers in the form of a Work Bonus, which allows pensioners to keep more of their pension even if they have income through part-time work. Those on superannuation who choose to work part-time can stretch their savings further.
3. Social connections
Volunteering is a great way to connect with your community but it isn’t for everyone, and anyway, there aren’t enough volunteer places to cater for all those who seek part-time volunteer work.
The social connections we make in the workplace not only help us with a sense of belonging, but also, those social connections are vital to our wellbeing. As humans, we are hard-wired to crave connection. The bonus with connections at work is we’re paid at the same time.
4. Diversity in the workforce
According to IBM, by 2030 Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce. Boomers, once the stalwarts of the workforce, are now mostly retired or considering retirement. That’s a generation of skills and wisdom being lost.
Fortunately, many companies are realising the benefits of employing older workers. Mature age workers tend to be reliable, flexible and come with a lifetime of experience. Younger workers can benefit from mentoring and support as they progress through their careers without needing to worry about competition from the seniors in the office or workplace
5. Staying active and engaged
Crosswords and puzzles are great but there’s nothing like solving a problem for your organisation to keep your brain active. And older workers who choose more physical work can skip the gym.
Finding work after 50: the transition
Professionals like teachers, accountants, civil engineers and many more might have considered retirement. However, it’s important to have a plan.
Many employers are happy to take on retired employees as consultants or part-time workers. As a consultant, you pay your own tax, are responsible for your superannuation payments and your employment saves the organisation on payroll costs and employment-related liabilities.
However, if you’d like to try something new with less responsibility, think about sharing your knowledge in a Bunning's garden centre or paint section, helping the maker movement by taking on a part-time role at somewhere like Spotlight, becoming a dog walker or even starting your own business.
As long as you don’t need to rely on the income from your new role, you have endless possibilities. Just remember to plan ahead!
Want to learn more about making the most of your senior years?
We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest.