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Most Aussies are unprepared for retirement

 

If you think retirement is going to be all gardening and cups of tea, think again.

New research from Mercer has found that our expectations for those golden years are very different from reality, with many Australians having little control over when, why and how they'll enter retirement.

Just one third of Australians retired because they had enough savings, according to a survey of 1,500 people aged 50 to 80 years old who were not receiving a full aged pension.

Forty per cent said they were forced to retire before they were financially ready, due to illness or redundancy.

Most Australians approaching retirement think they will semi-retire first, but in reality, only one quarter of us will gradually ease into retirement.

"We're living longer but retiring earlier than we expect, which means more years to fund in retirement and less working years to save for it," said Mercer Pacific managing director David Anderson.

Although younger generations will have enjoyed the superannuation guarantee for longer than older generations, many will likely end up having more debt in retirement than previous generations because of how expensive it has become to own your own home, Mr Anderson said.

He said government and business will need to find ways to keep older Australians in the workforce for longer as the population ages, especially if the pension age is raised to 70.

"The government needs more older people working for longer... we are actually getting to the tipping point," Mr Anderson said.

"We're going to have to learn new skills in terms of how to engage with older workers, how to structure jobs that fit with their needs, lifestyle and physical limitations they might have, so there's a little bit of learning that needs to happen.

"There's no silver bullet unfortunately, there's so many factors in here that need to be thought about.

"But it is a new reality and we're going to have to learn to deal with it."