Australians concerned about retirement -ANUpoll

22 February 2016

A new poll from The Australian National University (ANU) on ageing and money has found many Australians are worried about their retirement and ability afford a comfortable life after leaving the workforce.

The latest ANUpoll found almost half of working-age Australians expected to receive the age pension when they retire, while almost 40 per cent worry that they will become a burden on their families in old age.

Professor Matthew Gray said the ANUpoll demonstrated how retirement remains a considerable cause of angst for Australians, and that some elements of retirement policy need more attention.

"Amongst the Australian population there is a considerable diversity of circumstances and behaviours related to the financial aspects of ageing," said Professor Gray, from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.

"While many Australians will have adequate retirement incomes, other Australians are likely to experience low living standards later in life."

In 1992 the Australian Government introduced compulsory superannuation payments for workers to help them save for retirement and ease the demands on the pension system as the population ages.

But the ANUpoll found only 20 per cent of those surveyed were confident they would be able to afford a comfortable retirement, while one in three consider it unlikely they will have sufficient funds.

The existing policy is to increase the Age Pension qualifying age to 67 years and there are proposals to increase the age to 70. Most Australians oppose increasing the Age Pension age, with only 27 per cent supporting an increase.

Other findings include:

·         45 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men worry about being a burden on their family as they age, with the concern more common in low income households;

·         Only one in four Australians support the current policy to lift the Age Pension eligibility age to 67 for men and women. Most (45 per cent) prefer the pension age to be 65 for men and women, while 17 per cent support a return to the eligibility age of 60 for women and 65 for men;

·         77 per cent of those aged under 65 believe they have a strong possibility of receiving an inheritance;

·         A strong majority (78 per cent) believe older people should enjoy retirement and not worry about leaving an inheritance.

The ANUpoll, conducted in October 2015, also recorded the largest increase in the level of satisfaction with the way the country was headed.

The proportion of those satisfied or very satisfied with the way the country was headed rose from 50.6 per cent to 58.6 per cent between July and October 2015, coinciding with Malcolm Turnbull taking over as Prime Minister from Tony Abbott.

The ANUpoll is based on telephone interviews with 1,200 people.

The full ANUpoll is available at the ANUpoll website.