The idea of retiring at 65 has become "old-fashioned" as more people continue to work past retirement age in the Bay of Plenty.
While some are taking early retirement due to the fallout of Covid-19, others in the 65-plus age group are working longer than expected.
However, finding a new job at retirement age wasn't easy and those who've worked in the same company for decades were finding it tough not knowing how to look for a new job or where to find one.
Stats NZ estimates about 16,300 people in the Bay aged 65-plus are still employed - up from 12,300 in the September 2019 quarter.
The Bay's employment rate for that age group reached 27 per cent, compared to 18 per cent in the September 2010 quarter.
Successful Resumes Bay of Plenty branch principal Miriam O'Connor said she had noticed people aged 65-plus seeking work - particularly over the past year.
"Some people in that age group feel they have to work longer than expected because they are uncertain about the economic future or weren't getting the returns on their investments or older people fit and well who wanted to keep contributing," she said.
"Some people are taking an early retirement because of it [Covid-19] while others are looking for other opportunities in the workforce."
O'Connor said people who had been in the same company for 20 years were "knocked the hardest" and had no idea about how to go about applying for a new job.
They've lost confidence in where to look, how to navigate different job search sites, or even how to craft a CV, she said.
"The whole job search process has changed quite a bit," she said.
"It's about emphasising the value and skills you bring and putting dates that don't go back too far. You don't necessarily have to put your birth date on the CV either."
She said retirement age job seekers should apply for jobs that were a "good fit" for them and in similar industries to where they've worked in before.
"It is about identifying their own skills in whatever sector they have been working in and trying to find organisations that have roles for more mature workers."
O'Connor said senior workers can bring experience in the workforce, were reliable, had a good work ethic and fit well in a mentor role.
"There are organisations that will really value the experience they bring," she said.
Commission for Financial Capability retirement commissioner Jane Wrightson said retirement was about choice.
"Some people will be working because they have to and some will be working because they want to. It keeps them motivated as long as it's what they want to do."
Wrightson said the idea of people having to give up work at age 65 was "a bit old fashioned" but for some with poor health or struggling financially, the pension becomes a blessing.
She said their research suggested the 55-to-65 age group found it the most difficult to find a new job and ageism in the workforce was a problem, she said.
"In some ways, there's ageism at both ends. Young people will talk about difficulties in finding their first job and getting fair pay, older people will talk about being pigeonholed."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said New Zealand's population demographics were changing and Kiwis were living longer.
"They know they will likely have a long retirement. This means they still have plenty to contribute to their communities and they want to keep earning money if they are able to.
"Many keep working in a voluntary capacity as well as take time to help their favourite local charities and community groups.
"Tauranga is also a great spot for successful professionals to choose to ease into their retirement while still consulting to businesses and government agencies."
Cowley said jobs appropriate for the older workforce "completely depended" on the person.
"We see a number of farmers still working heavy machinery into their 70s. Warren Buffet is still the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway at 90 years of age.
"It is great to see many supermarkets and hospitality recruiting people in their 60s and 70s who provide great customer service and are super reliable for shift work."
The Staffroom Ltd Tauranga director Jill Cachemaille said it was difficult for candidates in the 65-plus age group to find employment.
"They are competing with others who can potentially offer longevity, even though experience counts for a lot and we see this as hugely valuable, employers want to be reassured with their return on investment."
Any job in customer service was dominant and technology was not was a good job fit for people aged 65 or older.
"Childcare could be a good option, handyman and caretaking can be suitable for physically fit people.
"Perhaps a bakery or food preparation might be another option. Retail would be ideal where the value of customer service is appreciated."
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Shirley McCombe said there had been an increase in people aged 65 and older seeking help, but the increase in benefit and Winter Energy Payments helped.
McCombe said the main issue for people aged 65-plus seeking help was the cost of living, particularly rent, which was "very difficult" on New Zealand superannuation.
"Often the problems are because they are trying to support whānau, they may be raising grandchildren and not necessarily receiving Working for Families as this is still going to the parents," she said.
"Some feel they must leave money for the children and neglect their own needs. Some have lost partners or had relationship breakups and do not know how to manage their finances.
"Some have high debts and insufficient retirement savings. Some are struggling with their health, particularly dementia, and maybe struggling to manage their financial wellbeing and maintain their independence."
McCombe said before people can start to save for retirement, they need to get their debts under control and create a sustainable plan going forward.
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service manager Pakanui Tuhura said most of the small number of 65-plus clients who came to see them were trying to support children or grandchildren who were struggling or living with them and not contributing to household costs.
"In doing so the over 65s have become financially vulnerable and come to us to find solutions that they may not have thought of or experienced themselves.
"All of our client cases are becoming more complex and difficult to find solutions for. Some of our over 65 clients are actually doing well but come in just to get assurance that what they are doing is the best they can do."
To ensure people had enough in the bank to retire with, Tuhura's advice was to take up a KiwiSaver account early in working life, plan for retirement and budget for what they want to achieve in retirement such as trips, holidays and activities.
Tuhura also advised all over 65s to look at creating a Power of Attorney and have an updated will in a safe and accessible place.
NZ Superannuation recipients by Territorial Authority - last 5 quarters
Sep 20: 28,401
June 20: 28,132
March 20: 27,964
Dec 19: 27,803
Sep 19: 27,571
Sep 20: 10,933
June 20: 10,792
March 20: 10,726
Dec 19: 10,639
Sep 19: 10,557
Veteran's Pension recipients by Territorial Authority - last 5 quarters
Sep 20: 322
June 20: 323
March 20: 326
Dec 19: 333
Sep 19: 347
Sep 20: 140
June 20: 146
March 20: 146
Dec 19: 149
Sep 19: 152
Source: Ministry of Social Development
Tips for retirement
- Carry on working if you're enjoying it
- If you're feeling less motivated, perhaps look at working shorter hours or going part-time
- KiwiSaver was a good way to "grow your money" - but seek advice first
- Think about how you can look after your children and grandchildren
- Once retired, think about your purpose - join a club, volunteer?
- Remember, you're not retiring from life
Source: Commission for Financial Capability retirement commissioner Jane Wrightson