Australians could be forced to work into their 80s: How to get more from your superannuation

Australians are set to work longer than they want to, often well into their 80s.

That’s the finding of a study released yesterday that predicts most baby boomers won’t have enough money for retirement.

The study, by Suncorp Superannuation, found a gap between when Australians would like to retire and when they will be able to afford to, with many still in the workforce a decade longer than they’d like.

The number of Australians working past the age of 55 has more than doubled in the past decade and Suncorp predicts in the next 10 years there will be a 52% increase in the number of people aged over 65 in the workforce.

In the next decade, 2.6 million Australians will need to work their entire lives out of financial necessity.

The research comes as this morning it was revealed an 80-year employee of Goldman Sachs, Alfred Feld, has died at age 98.

Feld had worked at Goldman Sachs for more than half of the firm’s history, starting in the mail room and then progressing to a stockbroker. As of 2008, Feld was still working three days a week and had managed money for three generations of some of America’s richest families.

In light of the greying of the working population, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia chief executive Pauline Vamos is pushing for Australians to take steps to boost their retirement savings.

“Making small changes can have a big impact on a person’s superannuation account balance in retirement,” Vamos said in a statement.

“Spending one hour today to look at ways to boost your super savings could save you hours of time working past the age you want to retire in the future.”

The ASFA recommends people consolidate their accounts, finding their lost super, make contact with their fund to ensure you’re getting the best possible service and simply save more.

The ASFA says there are billions of dollars in unclaimed super which can aid Australians in their retirement.

“If you have had more than one job, chances are you also have more than one super account. Moving all your super into one account can help you save on fees and will also make managing your super easier,” the ASFA says.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the past decade the number of people working in their 70s, 80s and 90s has increased from 59,000 to 102,000 and this number is expected to continue to rise.

The Suncorp survey found 20% of baby boomers expect they’ll be working past the age of 75, while the majority want to retire between the ages of 55 and 70.

Almost 25% of Gen Y and Gen X respondents think they will be working into their twilight years.

Suncorp found overall only 3% of Australians wanted to retire after age 75, while in reality at least 23% of people will have to work into their 80s.

The chief executive of the Self-Managed Super Fund Professionals Association of Australia, Andrea Slattery, told SmartCompany SMSF holders need to ensure they seek specialised advice in order to get the best returns from their super.

“You need to then match the advice you’re given with what you want your future lifestyle to be and your objectives for retirement,” she says.

“It’s important to consider your investment strategy and see your investments as a way in which you prepare for your retirements.”

Slattery says understanding your investments is also crucial to achieving the best returns.

“You need to be aware of the risk and the performance returns of each investment. It’s really important for people to get specialised SMSF advice and for people to make an informed decision about the ways in which they want to save for retirement.”

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