Older Australians are working further into their sixties to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, pay off debts totalling $150 billion and fund their retirements, according to evidence contained in ‘Baby boomers â€“ doing it for themselves‘, a report published by AMP and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).
Baby boomers are generally classified as anyone aged between 45 and 64 years.
According to the report, about six in every 10 married males aged 60 to 64 years were still working in November 2006, up from five in every ten only five years earlier. For married females in the same age group, about three in every 10 remained in the workforce, up from around 20 per cent in 2001.
Of the multi-billion dollar boomer debt, only a small amount is covered by mortgages outstanding. One-tenth of couples without children aged 60 to 64, one-fifth of couples with children and about one-sixth of single males have yet to pay off their homes.
Single females in their early sixties are even more likely to have done so â€“ only four per cent still haven’t.
Much of the debt appears to be connected to maintaining less-than-frugal lifestyles.
Boomer households spend more each week than any other group on food, alcohol, transport, personal care and miscellaneous goods and services, and more on recreation â€“ $132 compared to $120 for younger households and $71 for those above 65. As a result, a significant proportion of the survey sample has credit card debt.
The highest sub-group of baby boomers with credit card debt is couples aged 55 to 59 without children (64 per cent), compared to 40 per cent of single male boomers.