Aussies divided on new retirement age

Thursday, May 14, 2009

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By Stuart Fagg, ninemsn Money

The government was expecting a backlash over its decision to raise the retirement age to 67, but a ninemsn poll of more than 185,000 people has found that Australians are willing to work longer.

Treasurer Wayne Swan announced the move in Tuesday’s budget and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said he's ready to cop criticism for the decision, but 51 percent of voters in yesterday's ninemsn poll said they would be happy to continue working until the age of 67.

The yes camp totaled 94,782 votes, while 90,491 voters said they weren't happy about working longer.

Contributors to ninemsn’s forums on the topic were also divided on the issue.

Using a sporting metaphor, Rock of Brisbane said the government had not only changed the goalposts on retirement, but shifted the game to a new venue.

"By the time I get to retire (previously 55, changed to 59, now 67) I'll be issued food stamps, paid for by myself, twice," Rock wrote.

Others backed the government’s decision, saying Aussies should toughen up and that working beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 becoming the norm.

"We have bred a generation of wusses: kids don't work, they have no money, the government encourages them to leave home and then they bludge," wrote Still Working of Cairns. "Both my children are working, I am still working full time at 67 and loving the fact I am well and doing so."

Read all the comments and have your say

Baby boomers born after 1952 will feel the pain first with the decision to raise the pension age but the qualifying age will increase in six monthly increments between 2017 and 2023 as the government attempts to lighten the burden of the "demographic time bomb" of a growing pension bill and a shrinking workforce.

Research suggests Australians are already working longer as superannuation funds take a hit from the global financial crisis. Australian Bureau of Statistics data released earlier this year showed that more than one-third of Australian workers over 45 plan to work until they are at least 70.

Senior’s groups backed the decision to raise the retirement age, saying the change is inevitable given the ageing population.

“Whether we like it or not, the number of people who will be over 65 is going to be twice what they are now, in 2040," National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O'Neill said on Wednesday.

"With that shrinking workforce there to support the ever-increasing older population, I think there was a degree of inevitability around a shift in this direction."

25/04/2014 07:34Sydney, Australia. 25 April,2014
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