Retirement doesn’t look so bad, does it? You know, leaving the work force to follow your travel dreams, take up a hobby you never had time for or simply spend more time with the family.
But has it always looked this way? Here we discuss how Australian superannuation has changed over the years, and how this has affected our retirees.
What did retirement look like last century?
If you spent time with your grandparents or great-grandparents growing up, you might have noticed that their lifestyles – though perhaps not sedentary – were quite quiet.
Last century’s seniors didn’t have the same access to superannuation as we do now, leading to many workers needing to live off the age pension, rather than their own nest egg.
Supported by the pension
According to the Department of Parliamentary Services, by 1972, only 32% of workers had a super fund. Two years later, this number had not changed – and it was mostly males who were covered.
This is perhaps why many elderly people during the late 1900s were stay-at-home types, who enjoyed quiet lifestyles with the family or in a lifestyle village. Though it’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily a bad or wrong lifestyle choice, it contrasts with a lot of what we see today – which we’ll get to in a moment.
Growth of retirement villages
During the 1980s, retirement villages started to grow in popularity. According to Retirement Living, the industry had grown enough by the mid-80s that a governing body was required to manage it, which is why the Retirement Village Association was formed.
How does this compare to modern and future retirement?
Everyone is different, so the types of lifestyles people live when they retire will all be as unique. However, modern senior trends are proving to be more exciting than a few decades ago.
Rising life expectancy
Average Australian life expectancy has steadily grown since the late 1800s, states the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and looks like it will continue to rise.
Right now it’s around 82 years old.
Why is this important? If you are healthier at retirement and live for longer, this will define how much you need to save for it.
Bigger super balances
Superannuation is compulsory for all working Australians, and has been that way since 1992. It means that Australian workers retiring today will have superannuation savings to call upon, as they are likely to have received superannuation for at least 23 years.
Additionally, anyone can contribute additional money to their own or their spouse’s superannuation account, building nest eggs to help sustain a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. So, comparatively speaking, you would expect today’s retirees to have access to larger retirement savings.
If you’re interested in considering the superannuation options available through Virgin Super, contact us or visit our website today.
The rise of the travelling retiree
Spurred on by greater health and rising super balances, seniors are travelling more and knocking items off their bucket lists in their post-work life. Lynne Martin, retiree and author of ‘Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World’ told Forbes:
“We meet people who are realising that they have a lot longer to live than anticipated. They are thinking, ‘maybe I can do something more exciting than live at 234 Poplar Street’.”
With better healthcare, many retirees can live this lifestyle, as well as take up more hobbies, join an exercise class and still have time to look after the family.
Staying in the family home
One of the biggest trends associated with a modern life span is that people want to reside in their own homes longer. So in parallel to the rise of retirement villages, we are also seeing the emergence of innovative services for retired home-owners.
“We’re seeing the development of housing networks and social networks and service networks that provide the activities and support for many more people to lead the lives they want in their homes,” Paul Kusserow of Humana told The New York Times.
How will you spend your retirement years?