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6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, Nov 1997  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/06/1998   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

OVERVIEW

The number of persons aged 45 and over increased to 6,022,000 in November 1997 from 5,771,500 in November 1994. This represents an increase of 4% over this time, which compares to a 5% increase in the civilian population aged 15 and over for the same period.

Of those aged 45 and over, 3,215,400 persons (53%) had retired from full-time work. Some of their characteristics were:

  • the proportion had decreased by 2 percentage points since November 1994;
  • 60% were female;
  • the proportion who had retired from full-time work aged less than 45 was 35% (7% of males and 54% of females);
  • the average age of retirement from full-time work was 48 (58 for males and 41 for females); and
  • the proportion who were working part-time or looking for part-time work was 16%.
Some 2,348,300 persons aged 45 and over were currently working full-time. Of these, 2,103,900 (90%) intended to retire. A further 452,400 had never worked full-time and did not intend to work full-time.

An estimated 3,123,900 persons aged 45 and over had retired from the labour force i.e. they were not working or looking for full-time or part-time work. Of these:
  • 62% were female;
  • the average age they left the labour force was 50 (59 for males and 44 for females);
  • 13% had never worked full-time; and
  • 33% left their last full-time job 20 years ago or more.

AGE AT RETIREMENT FROM FULL-TIME WORK

In November 1997, an estimated 1,296,900 males had retired from
full-time work. Of these:

  • 22% retired from full-time work aged 65 and over;
  • 53% retired from full-time work aged 55-64;
  • 17% retired from full-time work aged 45-54; and
  • 7% retired from full-time work aged less than 45.


MALES WHO HAD RETIRED FROM FULL-TIME WORK BY AGE AT RETIREMENT,
1992, 1994, 1997




The 1,918,400 females aged 45 and over who had retired from full-time work showed a very different pattern of retirement ages. The ages they retired from full-time work are as follows:
  • 3% retired from full-time work aged 65 and over;
  • 21% retired from full-time work aged 55-64;
  • 22% retired from full-time work aged 45-54; and
  • 54% retired from full-time work aged less than 45.

FEMALES WHO HAD RETIRED FROM FULL-TIME WORK BY AGE AT RETIREMENT,
1992, 1994, 1997

Of the 1,044,700 females aged 45 and over who had retired from full-time work aged less than 45, one-third indicated that they had ceased their last full-time job to get married. For all age groups, common reasons for females ceasing their last full-time job were:
  • to get married (19%);
  • pregnancy/to have children (18%);
  • to look after family, house or someone else (12%); and
  • due to their own ill health or injury (12%).
This is contrasted with males, whose most common reasons for ceasing their last full-time job were:
  • due to their own ill health or injury (33%);
  • they reached compulsory retirement age (20%);
  • they were too old/reached an appropriate age to retire (17%); and
  • they were retrenched (12%).

PARTIAL RETIREMENT AND RETIREMENT FROM THE LABOUR FORCE

Persons who had retired from full-time work but continued to work part-time or were looking for part-time work can be considered to be 'partially' retired. Those persons who had discontinued working or looking for work, and did not intend to work at any time in the future can be considered to have retired from the labour force.

Of the 3,215,400 persons who had retired from full-time work, 2,709,600 (84%) had retired from the labour force. A further 414,300 had never worked full-time and had retired from the labour force, giving an estimate of 3,123,900 persons aged 45 and over who had retired from the labour force at November 1997.


There were also 505,800 persons who had partially retired. Three-quarters (377,300) of these persons were females.

MAIN SOURCE OF INCOME AT RETIREMENT

Among those who had retired from full-time work aged 45 or more, some differences in income sources were evident between males and females. At retirement from full-time work, the most common main source of income for males was an age or service pension (23%). For females, the most common main source of income was someone else's income (38%).

Other main sources of income for males at retirement from full-time work were:

  • Disability support, war disability or sickness allowance (16%);
  • Pension/annuity purchased with superannuation payment (16%); and
  • Business, property, investments (14%).
For females, other main sources of income at retirement from full-time work were:
  • Age, service, widow's or war widow's pension (20%);
  • Business, property, investments (8%); and
  • Part-time work (7%).

    Of those who had retired from work aged 45 or more, 40% of males reported that their main source of income had changed since retirement compared to 51% of females.

MAIN SOURCE OF INCOME AT RETIREMENT FROM FULL-TIME WORK BY SEX
RETIREMENT SCHEME MEMBERSHIP

Steady increases in retirement scheme membership have been evident since the first time this information was collected. From a level of 38% in 1983, retirement scheme membership for those aged 45 and over who had retired from full-time work has risen to 60% in November 1997. These changes strongly reflect changes to superannuation
legislation over the last 15 years.


The number of retirement scheme members aged 45 and over who had retired from full-time work aged 45 or more was 1,256,800, an increase of 20% since November 1994.



RETIREMENT SCHEME MEMBERSHIP, 1986 - 1997


Similarly, the retirement scheme membership of the group aged 45 and over who were working full-time and intended to retire from full-time work has risen from 60% in September 1984 to 92% in November 1997.

In November 1997, the number of persons aged 45 and over intending to retire who were retirement scheme members was 1,943,400, an increase of 22% since November 1994. Most of this increase was seen in the increase in superannuation scheme membership, which rose from 82% in 1994 to 91% in 1997 for this group.


INTEND TO RETIRE

In November 1997, there were 2,103,900 persons aged 45 and over who intended to retire from full-time work. In addition, there were 18,500 persons who had only ever worked part-time and intended to retire from part-time work.

Of the 1,412,300 males who intended to retire from full-time work:
  • 30% intended to retire aged 55-64;
  • 34% intended to retire aged 65 and over; and
  • 34% did not know at what age they intended to retire.
Of the 691,600 females who intended to retire from full-time work:
  • 44% intended to retire aged 55-64;
  • 14% intended to retire aged 65 and over; and
  • 38% did not know at what age they intended to retire.

EXPECTED TIME UNTIL RETIREMENT FROM FULL-TIME WORK BY SEX (years)



Of the group who intended to retire from full-time work, 600,900 (29%) indicated that they intended to work part-time after leaving their full-time job. The remaining 1,503,000 intended to retire from the labour force.

EXPECTED MAIN SOURCE OF INCOME AT RETIREMENT FROM FULL-TIME WORK

Those aged 45 and over who intended to retire from full-time work showed different responses from the retired group regarding their income sources in retirement. Of the 2,103,900 persons who intended to retire from full-time work:
  • 35% indicated their main income source would be a superannuation funded pension/annuity;
  • 20% responded their main income source would be an age, service, widow or war widow's pension; and
  • 10% responded their main income source would be a business, property or investment; and
  • 20% indicated they did not know what their main income source would be.



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