21 May 2012

New Zealanders accept longer working life - survey

7:07 am on 21 May 2012

New Zealanders have accepted the fact they will probably have to work for longer, in order to save enough for their retirement, according to a survey by one of the country's largest KiwiSaver schemes.

Superannuation will cost the Government $9.6 billion this year, which is 4.6% of GDP. The Treasury estimates that will swell to 8% by 2050.

The survey by Mercer quizzed 1000 workers and found that although most want to retire at 57, many expect to keep working until 65, or even 70 years of age. While, most respondents also expect less help from the Government.

The head of Mercer New Zealand Martin Lewington says the ageing population will be a huge burden on the economy, but the shift in attitudes towards working longer, may make it more politically acceptable to change the age of superannuation.

He says New Zealand is facing a 'fiscal timebomb' and two factors are working against the country, the ageing population and the generosity of the universal superannuation.

Mr Lewington says the Mercer survey shows New Zealanders have identified that they may need to work a lot longer, save more themselves and that the Government will be able to provide less.

He says it's worrying that the survey found nearly a third of people 45 and older, have done little to prepare for their retirement.

There are 1.9 million people enrolled in KiwiSaver. The scheme turns five in July, marking the first time eligible members will be able to withdraw their retirement savings.