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Semi-retirement: the best of both worlds

If you’re thinking of working beyond your retirement age, you’re not alone. Recently about half our SASS members told us they are planning to keep working longer than they expected1, which is in line with the national trend. Australians are retiring later now than they have for the last 50 years: the average age for men is now 66.2 and for women it’s 64.82.

Also, research shows that only 20% of people aged over 55 see retirement as a one-off event3, and are instead planning for a series of phases where paid work gradually takes up less time.

But continuing with paid employment into your 60s and 70s doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment. Many people are finding that semi-retirement gives them the right balance between spending time on personal interests and achieving financial stability.

The motivation to keep working

Less than half of Australians retire simply because they have reached the age where they can access their super4

We’re living longer, healthier lives so the prospect of being retired for thirty years or more can be a good motivation to keep working at least some of the time. The government is also contributing to the trend by steadily pushing out the age at which you can access the Age Pension.

Since COVID, changing employment patterns now allow for more part-time and remote work opportunities, giving pre-retirees more options to boost their finances for their future in full retirement. Between 2019 and 2022, one-third of new jobs went to people over 55.5

The benefits of semi-retirement

There are lots of reasons to stay in the workforce, including giving a purpose to your day, a social outlet and, of course, an income.

But while finances are important, people often choose semi-retirement because priorities change as you get older: you may want to spend more time with family, support a cause by volunteering, or follow a passion. Or maybe your career has a physical component that is more challenging for you as you age, but you still have lots of skills and experience to contribute.

Consider an 'encore career'

An ‘encore career’ is where people close to retirement choose to work in a new area, often in less demanding roles. These second careers offer a way to stay active and connected, and many use it to contribute to something meaningful to them. In 2018-19 almost 200,000 Australians went back to work, either for financial reasons or simply for something to do,6 and those figures are before COVID created more opportunities for older workers. 

For example, a teacher might find work as a casual tutor in a community centre, or a police officer could become a security consultant for local businesses. Some people take the opportunity to try something completely different from their previous career. In 2021 there were around 50,000 Australians aged over 50 studying for a tertiary degree7.

How to make semi-retirement work for you

If you like the idea of semi-retirement but feel unsure about what do next, an Aware Super planner can review your circumstances, talk you through each option, and help you make more informed decisions.

Thinking about retiring?

As a SASS deferred member, knowing your options is key to making sure you have the money to fund the lifestyle you want when you retire.

Attend a webinar

Join our experienced superannuation experts as they break down superannuation and finances into easy-to-understand topics through live webinars.

Book an appointment

At Aware Super, we are experienced in your State Super scheme and know the ins and outs of planning for a successful retirement. 

To help you make better decisions for your retirement, book today for a no cost, obligation free appointment with an Aware Super financial planner.


The information contained in this article is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. No warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of this information is given and no responsibility is accepted by Aware Super Pty Ltd or its employees for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the information provided.

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