Will Australians be too sick to reach retirement age?

Published 08 Jul 2015

Australians may struggle to reach retirement age in the future due to poor health, which could have a significant impact on their finances once they leave the workplace.

Recent research from AMP.NATSEM showed 25 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women in their 60s will have poor or fair health by 2035, by which time the national retirement age will be 70. As such, those unable to reach a suitable retirement age may experience a much lower quality of life.

The organisation's data said outcomes for people whose health is poor in their 40s is even worse. Nearly two-thirds of men in this demographic will be unemployed by their 60s, while 72.1 per cent of women will be out of a job.

There are a number of benefits available to people through their insurance or superannuation policy that can provide financial support for when they are too injured or ill to return to work. However, claimants must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for payment.

Nevertheless, anyone who has suffered a serious injury or illness should contact a superannuation disputes lawyer to see whether they are entitled to compensation.

An ageing population

AMP Chief Customer Officer Paul Sainsbury said the average age of Australians is on the rise, but this could mean individuals may need to think about the future if they suffer poor health.

"We know more years in retirement places more strain on our superannuation balances, so it's likely many of us will need to work longer," he stated.

"This raises some confronting questions, in particular, how healthy we will be in the later years of our working life and what our financial position will be."

The statistics showed that 72.2 per cent of men aged 60-64 with very good or excellent health are likely to still be working. This figure plummets to 34.8 per cent for males with poor health.

For women, the drop is even more dramatic. While 55.4 per cent of females aged 60-64 with very good or excellent health will still be working, just 17.8 per cent of those in poor health can say the same.

"Currently, the majority of Australians leave the workforce before the age of 65," Professor Laurie Brown of NATSEM stated.

"With the possibility of this increasing to 70 over the next 20 years, younger Australians need to consider the importance of their long-term health and its impact on career, wealth and retirement."

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