You couldn’t pay Rob Cameron enough to retire.
The Sydney stockbroker did not even contemplate retiring when he turned 65. He is now 71 and has no plans of hanging up his suit any time soon.
Professor James Trevelyan believes retiring at age 65 is an outdated concept.
Experience is worth more than you can put a number on, Cameron says.
“I’ve spent my entire life working in financial markets and know I represent significant value in a professional capacity,” he says. "If a person wants to work and has the enthusiasm, experience and skills, they should be given the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way.”
Perth’s Professor James Trevelyan, 73, also continues to work full-time, with no plans of stopping.
The self-employed engineer says he simply loves his job. “The idea of retiring and playing golf is nonsensical to me. Retirement only describes the walking dead,” he says.
Both Cameron and Trevelyan are part of a fast-growing army of men and women refusing to throw in the towel at the traditional retirement age of 65. They agree that the concept of retiring once you reach that age is an outdated concept.
The recently released federal government Intergenerational Report reveals that there are almost four million retirees and six million baby boomers in Australia.
Research shows that fewer than half of all workers retire at age 65. Of those still working, a quarter do not have any plans to retire at all.
‘The idea of retiring and playing golf is nonsensical to me. Retirement only describes the walking dead.’ Professor James Trevelyan
The Councils on Ageing (COTA) data reveal a marked decrease on 2018 figures, where 60 per cent of people in the age group reported they had retired.
We are living longer and having a better quality of life but that also costs more money, prompting many people to continue working. COTA’s data found that 45 per cent of us do not feel financially secure enough to stop working at age 65.
COTA chief executive Ian Yates says work is also a good a social network for many. “They wouldn’t give up just because they have reached a certain age. It is just not the reality anymore,” he says.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, an independent statutory agency, confirms the growing trend toward working beyond 65.
Meanwhile, soon-to-be retirees were among the groups most affected by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from Roy Morgan.
As markets plunged from March to May last year, super balances were severely dented for many older Australians, resulting in the shelving of immediate retirement plans.
The data show that 54 per cent of people aged 65-69 had intended to retire in February of last year, but that dropped to 39 per cent a month later.
National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke says financial considerations are a big reason that people do not stop working at age 65.
“The fact is that the over 65s are not a homogenous group, with a vast difference between wealth and poverty, depending on your personal situation,” he says. “Whether by choice or circumstance, many seniors continue working well beyond what their parents did in their working lives. Working longer promotes better financial health but we also now know it promotes much better physical and mental health,” Henschke says.