Australia is being transformed by population ageing, along with social, economic, and policy change. We are at a critical demographic turning point because the baby boom cohort - the 5.5 million people born between 1946 and 1965 - has begun to turn 65 years of age.
People now in their fifties will be bringing to later life a range of life experiences and expectations that are profoundly different from those of previous generations. The baby boomers are the first generation to face the new ‘third age’ with its unprecedented expectation of a decade or two of relatively healthy life after retirement.
Individuals, governments, and employers are becoming increasingly aware that baby boomers’ retirement from the workforce will have a major bearing on Australia’s economic and social well-being as well as the future of younger generations. However, empirical evidence for informing a productive and healthy retirement is lacking in current research and the recent financial crisis has called what little we do know into question.
The Ageing Baby Boomers in Australia (ABBA) project aims to generate a body of knowledge that informs constructive action for better retirement. It does this by analysing existing datasets in Australia (Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) and the United States of America (Health and Retirement Survey), and by collecting new Australian data on retirement planning and expectations through a national survey and focus group methodologies.
This is the second NSPAC report from the ABBA project. The first, My Generation: Are Australian baby boomers the retiring kind? summarised existing knowledge about the retirement plans and expectations.
This report closely examines the influence of the global financial crisis on baby boomers’ retirement decision making, retirement expectations, and their well-being in general.
The findings show that the most at risk during times of financial insecurity are lower socioeconomic groups, women and those in poor health. It also looks at what lessons can be learned should baby boomers and proceeding generations face similar crises in the future.
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