Survey points to bleak retirement outlook
Across Australia, the US and the UK, around 58 per cent of workers expect to live a poor or modest lifestyle in retirement according to an international study.
The Actuaries Institute Australia, the American Academy of Actuaries and the United Kingdom’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries have prepared an analysis paper based on responses from 2,953 working men and women from age 18 to 64.
The survey showed that more than half of respondents believe they will have a diminished or meagre existence despite a quarter of a century of compulsory saving in Australia, and savings schemes in the UK and US designed to provide retirees with funds once they stop work.
The survey also shows that fewer Australian women are preparing to retire than men. The gap between men and women preparing to stop work was higher in Australia, at 22 per cent, than either the UK where the gap is 7 per cent, or the US at 15 per cent.
Actuaries Institute president Jenny Lyon said a large number of people expect to rely in part or in whole, on some form of government payment during their retirement.
“We are immersed in an era of diminished expectations compared to the period even two decades previous,” Ms Lyon said.
The survey also asked respondents how prepared they are to meet risks once they stop work, including the risk of outliving their money.
“Respondents, on average, are least prepared when it comes to knowing how much they need to retire, how long their money will last, and what might happen if they are forced to stop work unexpectedly,” she said.
“Alarmingly, many respondents were also unprepared to retire at all, or believe they can re-enter the workforce if they need to.”
The survey also found that more men were preparing to retire compared to women across all three countries with 47 per cent of men preparing to retire compared to 34 per cent of women, but the gender gap is highest in Australia at 22 per cent.
“Around 70 per cent of people are married when they retire so the gender gap has the largest financial burden on single female retirees,” she said.