Never say never - again

Robin Bowerman, Head of Retail at Vanguard Investments Australia.
Robin Bowerman, Head of Retail at Vanguard Investments Australia.

SOME readers may remember – at least from late night television – that Never Say Never Again was the name of a 1983 James Bond movie starring Sean Connery.

The title apparently took its name from a decision by Connery 11 years earlier never to play Bond again. In other words, he had permanently retired from the role – or so he thought.

But the trouble with saying you will never do something again is that in reality you just might.

For instance, a survey by the ABS shows that 13% of Australians over 45 and still working intend to never retire. And another 9% have not made up their mind whether they intend to retire sometime in the future.

Although these statistics covering 2008-09 were released in December last year as part of the ABS Retirement and Retirement Intentions report, they are worth revisiting at this time as the trend to work until older ages seems to be really gathering momentum.

The difficulty with saying never is that the unexpected can get in the way. And it is interesting to note that just 1.4% of the workforce over 70 is still on the job – whether on a full time or part-time basis.

But even if retirement intentions don’t always match reality, a key point is that the statistics provide a valuable insight into what the workforce is thinking and the way a trend is moving.

And given the high volatility in the market, the slowing of the global economic recovery and inadequate retirement savings, many more people are likely to find comfort if they can add a few more years to their working lives if desired.

The issue of extended working lives was briefly discussed in Smart Investing on August 23

For the record, the largest percentage of the workforce over 45 intends to retire between 65-69. According to the ABS, 52% of men and 39% of women intend to retire in that age bracket.

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Robin Bowerman, Vanguard Investments Australia's Head of Retail, has more than two decades of experience in the finance industry as a writer, commentator and editor.

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