A new study by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) shows that Australians are working for longer - often out of personal choice.
The age at which we can claim the age pension has been slowly increasing. It's currently 66, but it will be age 67 by mid-2023, and that's seeing more of us working later in life.
These days, less than one in two (49 per cent) people aged 65 has retired, down from 60 per cent in 2018.
It goes to show how our views on retirement are evolving.
For some, working for longer is a financial necessity.
But plenty of over-50s like the mental and social stimulation that keeping a hand in the workforce provides.
The COTA report shows one in four over-50s has no plans to retire at all.
The problem is that life doesn't always go according to plan. Ideas of working well into your 60s can easily be derailed by the unexpected.
Unfortunately, ill health is the leading reason why people retire earlier than they had planned - or wanted to.
Figures from the McKell Institute show that in 2017, over 300,000 50 to 64-year-olds were forced into early retirement due to ill health or disability.
Ideas of working well into your 60s can easily be derailed by the unexpected.
The financial impact can be devastating, with these premature retirees having around $115,000 less in super savings compared to if they'd remained in the workforce until age 65.
While this highlights the value of taking good care of our personal wellbeing as we age, it also reinforces the need to look after our financial health.
In particular, I'm talking about embracing opportunities to grow super savings because you may need to rely on that money a lot earlier, and for a lot longer, than you anticipated.
On the plus side, since July 1, employer super contributions have climbed from 9.5 per cent of your base wage or salary to 10 per cent.
Even better, the annual limit on before-tax super contributions has risen from $25,000 to $27,500.
That's a good opportunity to review your salary sacrificed super contributions - or talk to your employer about kick-starting salary sacrifice to grow your nest egg. It's a very tax-friendly way to add to your super.
With tax refunds starting to flow over the next few weeks, using your refund to make a before-tax super contribution can be a smart way to get plenty of bang for your buck.
You may be able to claim the contribution as a tax deduction in the current financial year, potentially pocketing a bigger refund this time next year.
Personal super contributions also have a welcome impact on your retirement savings.
A 50-year-old who gets into the habit of using a tax refund of, say, $2000 to make a before-tax super contribution each year, can have an extra $35,000 in super by age 67.
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