Approaching Retirement – Australian Demographics in focus

You are not alone!

In fact, if you were born between 1946 and 1964, you are one of 5.17 million people in Australia or 22% of the population. So, in 2019 that makes you somewhere in age between 55 and 73 and you will either almost certainly have left the workforce or are seeing that event on the horizon.

On average, in Australia, people leave the workforce at 62.9 years of age but that point can span anywhere from early 50’s to late 70’s like some of our “Living Legends” (Ita Buttrose comes to mind) who are still in the workforce with very senior positions. I should say that working into your late 70’s is not the exclusive domain of well-known personalities but it probably helps. Generally, men leave the workforce a little later than the average at 63.6 years and women a little earlier at 62.1 years. Interestingly, though, 30% of people over 65 are still working in some capacity.

Let me know your experience. What age did you leave the workforce? Was it voluntary or involuntary? Was it a good experience or could it have been handled better? Email me at

3,500 are leaving the workforce each week

You are certainly not alone; in 2019 around 3,500 people are leaving the workforce for good each week in Australia and this will continue to increase to around 4,100 people per week before levelling off for a few decades.

Whilst most people will be familiar with the various generation groupings comparing them based on numbers can be deceiving as the years bracketed by the generations vary. Look at the numbers below:

  • 1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers (18 years)
  • 1965 to 1976: Generation X (11 years)
  • 1977 to 1995: Gen Y (18 years)
  • 1996 to present: Gen Z (23 years)

So analysing the population pyramid of Australia in 2019 shows what the real picture is as it shows the percentage of the population by 5 year groupings called “cohorts”. So if you are 60 – 64 you can see there are more people following you in the 55-59 cohorts and so on.

Australia’s Population Pyramid 2019

Interestingly, Glenn Capuano from .id-the population experts, pointed out that whilst the Baby Boomers generation exists in all western countries, the UK and the US experienced a big increase in the birth rate straight after the Second World War but in Australia it was a far more gradual build-up over a 15 year period from a birth rate of 2.74 in 1946 to 3.55 in 1961. Currently it is around 1.97. For more information go to the ABS publication “Historical Population Statistics” (3105.0).…/who-are-the-baby-boomers/

Are you thinking about leaving the workforce?

If you are thinking about voluntarily leaving full-time work, make sure you have a robust psychological plan in place that will guide and mentally sustain you in the years ahead, give you a strong focus and, importantly, a greater confidence in the future.

On the other hand, if you have involuntarily left the workforce (and you are definitely not alone in this regard) and have lost direction and perhaps feeling a bit down and lacking purpose, making a plan is the kick-start you need to move forward, find a renewed confidence and purpose in life.

In either case, consider talking to Transition to Retirement about how we work with clients to build a Transition to Retirement (TTR) Plan.

“You are not alone” Thanks to En Lefko 87.7

Approaching Retirement? Is your job lacking mental stimulation? Here are some options…..

Many people tell me as they approach retirement that their jobs no longer provide the mental stimulation they crave. They may have been in their current job for many years and they can “do it with their eyes shut”. Their job may have become routine and pretty much the same every day. Lack of opportunities for promotion are a reality, lateral transfers are not part of the culture and being assigned to a project team for a bit of variety just doesn’t happen in their workplace.

On the one hand, they think “Well, I am lucky to have a job at my age” and “Where will I find another job in today’s market?”, and, on the other hand, they are thinking “Is this all there is to life?”. This internal conversation in a person’s mind can lead to frustration, mild levels of anger, low mood, and a feeling of dreariness and boredom can descend on them.

So, what to do about it. Here are some options to get you started.

1. Find a new outside interest

It’s time to challenge yourself with something new. Life can become very routine so finding a new outside interest that is mentally challenging will spill over into your thinking whilst at work. This could be almost anything from deciding to learn salsa dancing and practising steps whilst at your desk (ideal if you have one of those desks that can be raised) to finding an engrossing book or exploring Chinese cooking. It really could be anything and planning to explore a few things will keep your mind occupied. You can always drop what you don’t like; just because you try something doesn’t mean you have to finish it. The upside could be you find something you become passionate about and, at the same, you are likely to be meeting new people.

2. Talk about it with a friend

We all know the phrase “A problem shared is a problem halved” so talking about it with a friend will help. Men, in particular, are not good at this. Start off perhaps with a plan just to touch on the subject and see how your friend reacts; there is no need to go “all in” right at the start. Humour also helps as does raising the issue when doing a shared activity; maybe over a beer or with your lunch buddy. You could get a perspective that you hadn’t thought of or you might even find they are harbouring similar feelings.

3. Exercise

The trend in all these suggestions is changing something in your routine and there is no doubt that a little more exercise for anyone lifts their feeling of well-being. It is all about getting more of the endorphins in your brain circulating around. Endorphins are only one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. Raising your levels of serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. It can also help improve your appetite and sleep cycles. Go for a walk and notice how you feel afterwards. Plan to do a little more each day; there is no need to wait for New Year’s Day to set some new resolutions!

4. Make a Plan for the Future

Life is too short to be stuck in a job you feel isn’t going anywhere. For some the option to fully stop working isn’t an option until the retirement age when they can tap into the Pension. Exploring options with your employer such as moving to part-time or mentoring could a ‘circuit breaker” for you. For some people, though, finishing work is an option particularly if you are not enjoying what you are doing and it is financially possible. I talk to many people who continue to work due to a fear of not knowing what they will do once they finish; their job is their life and perhaps they have very few, if any, outside interests. The prospect of not working is very scary. If that is the case for you, it is time to start thinking about making a plan. There is no need to rush things but starting to think about and visualising the future is highly beneficial. Having a psychological plan for transitioning from work to your “Next Stage” is vital; besides you are easily likely to have 20 to 30 years ahead of you. Starting to crystallise daydreams into a coherent plan for the future provides people with a renewed focus, a confidence in the future and a purpose in life.

There are two possible trajectories at such a point in life.

1) The Lack of a Plan where you drift into retirement often leads to a meaningless and mediocre life, or

2) Preparing a Plan with a professional life planner to develop a robust and comprehensive plan that will redefine who you are, help you determine what are your “Personal Enduring Visions” (those two or three things that will give you a longer term focus and purpose), goals to get you there and a plan for your time as you will be the “Director of your own Time”. These should be exciting and busy years and having a plan will give you focus, purpose and confidence in the future.

There are options so don’t feel trapped in a job that is offering you little in the way of a challenge or mental stimulation. Take charge and take the first step in making a change today.

It’s time for making a change as you approach retirement.