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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Jun-Jul
22 | www.probussouthpacific.org a ccording to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey, the average age at retirement for recent retirees between July 2008 and July 2009 was 60.2 years. Within this group, the difference between the retirement age of men and women was relatively small, with women retiring slightly younger, at 59.2 years compared to men at 61.1. Retirement is changing, explains Michael O’Neill, chief executive of lobby group National Seniors Australia. He says that prior to the financial downturn in 2008, 30 per cent of Australians were choosing to continue to work past 65. “We are seeing a shift in retirement plans and activities, and people are choosing to retire later,” he says. “The pension kicks in at 65 and many now choose to work beyond retirement age.” O’Neill also sees recent retirees moving away from traditional volunteering, such as Meals on Wheels, and focusing on the skills they developed in their working life. “They have a different approach to volunteering and retiring; many are using these skills to start their own businesses.” Doing it for themselves After retiring, Jan Petrie, a TAFE-trained childcare worker, became a partner in her own childcare centre. “My sister wanted me to go into business with her and, because my husband wasn’t going to retire for a few years, I said ‘why not?’,” Petrie explains. “I remembered all the ideas I had thought of over the years and realised it would be a great challenge.” Petrie used her 12 years of experience in the industry to take on the role of manager of the centre, overseeing nine staff. “I took great satisfaction in knowing they were my ideas that had paid off.” The Federal Government is supportive of those who choose to return to work after retirement and Centrelink estimates that approximately 4.7 per cent of Australians receiving the Age Pension, or around 100,000 people, have some income from employment each year. Centrelink offers the Work Bonus, which allows pensioners of any age to earn income from employment before their pension is affected. Half of the first $500 » Changing pace Retirement no longer means slowing to a stop. Today’s retirees are turning hobbies into small businesses, channelling passions into volunteering and chasing lifelong dreams, writes Helen Hull. COVER STORY
Active Retirees Aug-Sept