'Retirement is changing': Many New Zealand's seniors still at work

'For many people, 65 is no longer the finish line'

'Retirement is changing': Many New Zealand's seniors still at work

A third of Kiwis who are at the age of 65 are still at work, according to a new report, indicating the changing nature of retirement across New Zealand.

Research for ANZ Investments found that 32.5% of baby boomers aged 65 and over are still making employee contributions to their KiwiSavings accounts. This includes 18.5% who are making voluntary contributions.

Fiona Mackenzie, Managing Director of ANZ Investments, said the findings might seem "surprising."

"But it reflects how the way we think about retirement is changing. For many people 65 is no longer the finish line. They're still working, through choice or necessity," Mackenzie said in a statement.

Retirement in New Zealand

There is no official retirement age in New Zealand, but the "common age" to retire is at 65 when NZ Super and other pension payments start.

But the pandemic, recession fears, and the rising costs of living have made seniors modify their retirement plans, according to NZ Seniors. In their report, 38% are now considering to delay retirement, while 37% are expecting to keep working past their preferred retirement age to fund their retirement.

The government appears to be gearing up for a surge of seniors who want to remain at work.

The Ministry of Social Development recently launched a new pickyourpath.nz website in a bid to connect older workers with employers in Marlborough, Nelson, and West Coast.

It comes as older people face the challenge of ageism at work, where 60% of employees over 50 said they are expecting barriers to employment, according to the NZ Seniors report.

To address the problem, the organisation previously called for measures to address ageism in the workplace.

"Both employers and employees have a responsibility to cultivate a culture of inclusivity for workers of all ages by recognising the value and contributions each individual brings," it said.

Retirement plans for New Zealanders

Meanwhile, the ANZ Investments report also found how various age groups are planning for retirement.

Majority of respondents (69%) between the age of 18 and 24 said they plan on using KiwiSaver to fund their retirement.

Majority of respondents (67%) aged between 55 and 64 said they plan on using the NZ SUper.

"Gen Z and Millennials particularly view KiwiSaver as their main way of saving for a comfortable retirement," Mackenzie said. "Whereas older Kiwis also place a lot of importance on NZ Super."

Overall, 63% of the adults surveyed in the report said they plan on using KiwiSaver to fund their retirement, much higher than the 50% who plan on using NZ Super. Other sources of income they cited include:

  • Term deposits or bank savings (23%)
  • Other investments, such as managed funds (21%)
  • Equity from the sale of their home (12%)
  • Rental income (11%)
  • Proceeds from the sale of an investment property (6%)

However, 14% of the respondents said they don't know how to fund their retirement, including 13% of respondents aged between 55 and 64.

"KiwiSaver was introduced in 2007 so many older members have not had the benefit of KiwiSaver for their full working lives," Mackenzie said. "What is encouraging is that our customer data shows that many of older members who have joined KiwiSaver are actively using it to help them save for their retirement years."

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