More seniors are working later in life – a concern for retirement villages

The trend of working into retirement has quadrupled over the decade

More seniors are working later in life – a concern for retirement villages


By Micah Guiao

Retirement villages could soon be going into retirement.

50s housing portal has revealed more senior citizens are opting to work later in life to meet the increasing cost of living as economic uncertainty looms over the nation. In fact, figures have almost quadrupled in a decade, rising from 218,000 in December 2011 to 868,000 in December 2021.

This could mean over five million people aged 50 and above will still be active in the workforce by 2031. Today, the number stands at four million, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Although Australia has no set retirement age (Age Pensions are given to those aged 67 and above if born after January 01, 1957), this could pose a problem to retirement villages that bank on the reliable flow of new senior citizens coming in to keep themselves afloat.

“Traditionally, retirement generally means downsizing – which is based on couples retiring from the workforce and family duties, and then being able to sell their unencumbered home and move to more age-appropriate housing or retirement living,” explained.

Amanda Graham, chief executive officer of, said the data might not necessarily be as pessimistic as it looks, claiming that older Australians are likely to still move into age-appropriate housing regardless of occupation.

“There is, however, a need to recognise that, in coming years and decades, more over 50s housing communities are likely to include a blend of both working and retired people,” Graham said. “In addition, the huge increase in average mortgage levels for people over 55 means that there needs to be a greater focus on products which allow people to move these mortgages across into what was traditionally retirement housing.”

Just last week, the Senate also passed a superannuation legislation, which lowers the threshold for the downsizer scheme from 65 to 60 for senior citizens to retire more comfortably at an earlier time.

However, some states like South Australia and Tasmania still prohibit full-time workers from living in retirement villages, but could always amend rules and pattern themselves after other states with more progressive inclusions for retirement.

“In the future, we expect the focus of over 50s communities will be more about lifestyle than retirement,” Graham said.

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