How many of us will work until death?
Nearly a quarter of all seniors are still in jobs – and the number is likely to rise.
Picture / Supplied
Picture / Supplied
Record numbers of Kiwis are working beyond 65 and face an uncomfortable truth: they may have to keep working until the grave.
Statistics New Zealand figures show 24 per cent of those 700,959 eligible for superannuation - just over 168,000 people - still work. The data, published in April in North & South magazine, show this percentage has nearly tripled from nine per cent just 30 years ago.
New Zealand does not compare favourably on the international stage. Only three of 34 OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) have more people aged 65-69 working; Iceland tops the list with 53 per cent of this age-group still at work, followed by South Korea (44.5 per cent) and Japan (40.1 per cent).
New Zealand is next with 39.6 per cent, ahead of the United States (30 per cent) and Australia (25.4 per cent).
The issue of retirement has come into sharper focus in recent years as New Zealand – and many other countries – struggle with the growing number of seniors whose life savings may not support them in their old age. That has seen the introduction of relatively new products like life income funds, combining investment and insurance to give retirees regular payments until they die – helping to guard against the problem of outliving income.
The payments - possible through a lump sum investment and an insurance premium ensuring regular instalments until death - are designed to use KiwiSaver or other savings to supplement the national pension when people stop working.
One giving more thought to such issues is Lorna Subritzky, host of Coast Days on Coast FM. Although in KiwiSaver, she says she is not confident she has enough at this stage of her life (late 40s).
“I was self-employed for a long time so I started (KiwiSaver) a little late,” she says. “A marriage break-up and consequent asset division was also a setback.”
Subritzky says she has not yet decided at what age she will retire: “I suspect, for my own mental wellbeing, I will keep working in some capacity - whether that be in radio or writing - but I guess ideally I’d like to retire from full-time employment around 65. That is, of course, if I’m lucky enough to still be employed by then.”