I’m too young for this, what is a working retirement?

So you’re excited for a lifestyle change but not quite ready to hang up the boots? A working retirement could be just the thing for you. There’s money to be made, and work can be fulfilling when you’re doing what you love.

Statistics show that there are plenty of people aged 50-70 still thriving in the workplace, whether it be full time, part-time or just here and there. In fact, 30% of National Lifestyle Village homeowners are keeping busy in their chosen field and experiencing that much sought after work/life balance feeling. And, with initiatives like Restart, Work Bonus, Pension Work Bonus and Pathway to Work, the government is creating avenues for people over 50 to re-enter the workplace, or simply keep up the good work they’re already doing. As a result, it’s producing more competitive over 50s job seekers, incentivising businesses to hire them, and maximising what they take home at the end of the day.

According to the latest census data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that 177,500 previously retired Australians aged 45 years and over had returned to work or were planning to. Approximately 42 per cent were doing so for financial reasons, while 32 per cent stated they were “bored and needed something to do”.

Like Roger Pugh, a top Australian advertising executive who swore he’d never retire until he was ready and left the workforce at 55. Roger took it easy for 10 years – a little too easy as he describes it. “Doing nothing and vegetating into retirement was never my plan,” he said. So he quickly decided to reinvent himself as a writer for a publisher and is still going at it today, with no signs of slowing down.



Louise Di Francesco has a similar story, retiring four years ago. “It was blissful at first,” she said, “I could wake up when I wanted or go to lunch with friends.” However, Louise admits that boredom eventually set in. “I just didn’t want to sit around and do nothing,” she realised.

Even more than that, money – or lack of it – was continually on her mind. “I was suddenly aware that I wouldn’t be able to have the lifestyle I had enjoyed all my working life,” she says. “The thought of no more overseas trips spurred me back to work.”

Now in her late 50s, Louise has decided to rent a co- working space in the city, travel to work and build her own PR client base. She’s one of many her age who are redefining this new life stage, as one with uncapped potential. Whether it’s continuing in one’s chosen field, or setting out on an entirely new entrepreneurial endeavour, like blog writing or floristry, for newly liberated empty nesters, the sky is the limit!

Taking the initiative

People staying active in the workforce over 50 and beyond has become so common and important for the economy that the government is really getting behind it in some incredibly helpful ways. They’ve set up a raft of initiatives to support the ambitions of a more mature workforce. There’s Restart, a financial incentive of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) for businesses that hire and retain mature age employees, 50 years and over. There’s also Work Bonus, allowing over Age Pension workers to keep more of their pension when they have income from working.

The Pension Work Bonus has gone from $250 to $300 a fortnight, increasing the amount that can be earned from work without even having to come under the Age Pension income test. And Pathway to Work is part of the Australian Government’s $110 million Mature Age Employment Package helping mature age job seekers become more competitive in their local labour market. Although this is not yet fully underway, regionally based activities, including pilot projects, commenced 1 July 2018 and will take place on a rolling basis until 30 June 2021.

The new work/lifestyle balance

Busselton is a great example of an area where many people between 50-79 are still very active in the workplace, with Healthcare and Social Assistance the top field (a whopping 744 workers). Let’s use Julie as an example – a 53-year-old nurse who works at an aged care provider in Broadwater, just a suburb or two away from Vasse. Having been in the industry for quite some time, she is highly reluctant to consider retirement living options at her age. Although she’s heard a lot of good things about lifestyle communities like The Vantage at Vasse, she’s not 100% convinced. Having said that, she knows there will come a time when it would be nice to dial back the hours a touch – but not just yet.

With a working culture shift for Baby Boomers who are not so eager to retire comes a trend in over 50s communities, providing a unique living environment that allows ambitions to flourish. Communities like The Vantage at Vasse, where the emphasis is less on retiring and more on downsizing, open up potential to explore new horizons.

John Wood, founder of National Lifestyle Villages states that approximately 30% of NLV homeowners, like those at Vasse, are still working in some capacity. “When people come to The Vantage, they’re not necessarily looking to slow down, but to free themselves up to become more actively involved in the community and professional projects,” he said.

Another trend, again very evident at the The Vantage, is ‘right-sizing’ as industry Expert Rachel Lane coins it. “Moving into a low maintenance, brand new home means you’re less tied down, with more time to realise your new life’s ambition” says Rachel.

And with a multi-million dollar clubhouse with every kind of resort style amenity you could imagine, NLV’s The Vantage at Vasse provides very attractive working conditions. With a supportive community of thriving individuals, The Vantage at Vasse is a standout place to discover a whole new lease on working life.