Agribusiness banker Paul Buist, of Hamilton, is 76 and has worked for the BNZ for 26 years. Despite being well past the age of retirement, he has chosen to continue working.
New research shows that nearly one in two Kiwis (46 per cent) are just like Buist – they intend to keep working past the aged of 65.
“For Paul, it is all about the joy of coming to work and making a valuable contribution to his customers’ businesses and to BNZ,” says Paul Carter, BNZ’s Director of Retail and Marketing.
“Many people are fitter and healthier in their 60s and 70s than previous generations and more are keen to keep working for longer.”
The BNZ’s Financial Futures research found that two thirds of those over the age of 65 want to keep working because of the value and satisfaction it brings.
Other important factors are the ability to use their skills and talents (68 per cent) and for social contact (57 per cent).
For many New Zealanders, it’s a question of balance as they get older: only 18 per cent plan to work full time, with 31 per cent preferring a part-time job, giving them time to enjoy other activities, including travel and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
“Working longer opens up all kinds of opportunities for people, including changing the way they view their finances,” says Carter.
But the reality for 31 per cent of respondents is they need the money they’ll earn past 65 to pay their bills.
“While we know it can be tough for those who have to keep working to pay their bills, it’s great to hear that so many more people continue because of the positives about work.
“I think the gap between those who choose to work in retirement and those who have to is too high. There’s a real opportunity for people to narrow that gap by being more proactive about planning their finances,” says Carter.
“I recommend people start with doing what they can to get on top of their debts, give their mortgage repayments the once-over and check to ensure their KiwiSaver is working hard for them.”
The majority of people (57 per cent) believe they will depend on superannuation investments, either company or KiwiSaver, to fund the life they want in retirement.
“KiwiSaver is such an important component of people’s plans for funding retirement – so make sure you not only enrol in KiwiSaver, but make an active fund choice and take an interest in the fund where you are invested,” says Carter.
The research found almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of people are confident they will pay off their mortgage before they retire or semi-retire, despite the indication that we’re settling down and buying a home later in life.
Others have plans in place to pay off their loans after 65, by selling up and buying a cheaper house (37 per cent), from savings (31 per cent) or dividends from investments (26 per cent), among other tactics.
“Having your finances in a good state so you can make a choice to work in later life means not being complacent now,” says Carter.
“We are still benefiting from some of the lowest interest rates in a generation, so now is the best time to look at your repayments to see how you can speed up saying goodbye to your mortgage,” says Carter.
“Even simple things like changing from monthly to fortnightly payments will cut the length of your home loan, without feeling the pinch,” he says.
“All of these tactics will help in achieving the retirement you want and deserve,” he says.