Retiring brokers face uphill battle

by Mackenzie McCarty23 Jan 2013

Just 14% of Australian baby boomers feel financially prepared for retirement, according to new research – and mortgage brokers are no exception to the rule.

REST Industry Super, one of Australia’s largest industry super funds, surveyed 1,200 Australians approaching retirement to find out more about their financial situation, plans and expectations for the road ahead.

Damian Hill, the company’s CEO, says the organisation found ‘sizeable gaps’ between what baby boomers are envisaging for their retirement and what the reality will be.

Loan Market mortgage broker, Pam Walters, 67, (pictured) says she’s only just looking to retire next year.

“I think you will probably find that with most people in their sixties superannuation has been something of a recent entry – for the majority of the years I was working there were no employer contributions.”

Like many mortgage brokers, Pam, who lives and works in the Blue Mountains, spent much of her working life self-employed, further adding to the superannuation dilemma.

Pam's husband, at the age of 70, hasn't fully retired either.

“My husband was a high school teacher but he now works as a part-time chef. He goes off in his Gordon Ramsey jacket two mornings a week.”

She says that, even though they have yet to tap into their superannuation funds, there are things they will have to give up once she stops working.

“Last year we were overseas for eight weeks – that’s something I’ll have to think twice about...Quality of living will not necessarily fall, but we will have to give up some things. I read somewhere that the average Aussie, by the time they reach 70, will have used up all their superannuation after having retired at 55. We’re lucky that we’re at that age and we haven’t even started using ours yet – we didn’t fall into that trap.”

However, Pam also believes that there are non-financial benefits to be gained from working into one’s later years.

“The longer I keep working the better it is for me – I honestly feel the longer you can keep working the fitter you are. The time will definitely come to retire if I stuff up a deal, but having the requirement of getting up in the morning is better than going to bingo or something.”

Nevertheless, she says she’s looking forward to finishing next year – and swears she won’t get bored.

“I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been bored. There’s a world of things I look forward to doing – I read a lot, I do cryptic crosswords, I’ve got friends out there I spend far too little time with. I’m not afraid of retiring, but I’m not in any hurry. If the work dwindles away then that will be a sign that I’m not servicing my clients anymore and then it will be time to quit.”