More Aussies will work past 70

By: Stephen Lunn

The number of Australians expecting to work past 70 has doubled since 2006, as the extent of the damage wreaked on retirement savings by the global financial crisis becomes clear.

Two in every five people aged 40-65 have changed their retirement plans due to the economic downturn, rising to 60 per cent of those aged 60 and over, a survey by consultancy group Mercer shows.

The research, based on interviews with 519 Australian workers, found 19 per cent said the impact of the financial crisis meant their working lives would be extended by six years or more, The Australian reports.

The average preferred retirement age is 58, the average expected retirement age is 64. In May, the Rudd government announced it would increase the qualifying age for the age pension to 67, a recognition that people are living longer and will need to work longer to fund their retirement.

The Mercer survey found nine in 10 Australians do not expect to retire until they are at least 60. A 2006 survey found 11 per cent of Australians anticipated retiring over the age of 70, while this survey, to be published later this month, shows that figure blowing out to 20 per cent.

Mal Walker, founder of Grey Hair Alchemy, a recruitment service for experienced executives, agreed many workers were coming to the end of their working lives and finding the financial downturn had forced them into a total rethink.

"As a result (of a lower super return) they are flocking back to try and re-enter the workforce, probably not full time, because they are looking to cover that $30,000 gap," Mr Walker said.

"But employers just don’t seem prepared to give them a go. And for the jobs that are there, the competition is incredibly fierce." The Australian

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