New survey: one in four people aged over 50 believe they will never retire

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In bad news for the retirement sector and to validate Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s determination for most people to stay at home, a new survey shows one in four people in the workforce over 50 do not believe they will ever retire.

The survey by Newgate Research for the COTA Federation (Councils on the Ageing) found financial insecurity was a key reason; 36% of those who don’t expect to retire rated their finances below five out of 10.

The same proportion of people rated their finances 7 or more, suggesting that not wanting to retire is not purely a financial decision.

Many people over 50 in the major capital cities have six-figure mortgages and would not consider retirement at the time.

Joan Hughes, president of COTA NSW and chairperson of COTA Federation, said many older people wanted to keep working for the social connection and satisfaction but planned to either reduce paid work or pick up volunteering.

“There is a bit of problem with that notion of retirement, what we call ‘the R word’, and what that conjures up for some people,” Ms Hughes told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“There is a lot of ageism and maybe some people have seen that happen to their parents or feel like they don’t know what the next chapter of their life will be or that if they don’t have work they don’t have an identity.”

The research – the findings will be published in the State of the (Older) Nation 2021 report – found 49% of people aged 65 had retired, down from 60% in 2018.