The Revenge of the Oldies

You never actually know what will become a ‘hit’.

Case in point:  when I wrote my book, I had no idea that my ‘Donald Bradman Retirement Strategy’ would resonate so strongly with readers.

To date I’ve received literally hundreds of emails from people in their 50s and 60s — some admitting they were in tears as they typed — thanking me for taking away their fear of retirement.

For the first time they realised they can live a dignified retirement even if they have far less than the minimum ‘magic million’ in super that everyone tells them they need.

For those of you who haven’t read my book (What’s your excuse? Buy a freaking copy! The royalty from each book buys me a half a can of Coke), the aim of the strategy is for retirees to still be at the crease at 100, hitting it out of the park while enjoying a comfortable retirement.

(And by ‘comfortable’ I mean lapping it up on a nice three-week trip to Noosa each year with your mates each year. Regularly eating at nice restaurants. Going to the flicks. Driving a near-new Toyota. Spoiling the grandkids. Having enough money for top-quality health insurance. And having some Mojo stashed away for emergencies.)

The Donald Retirement Bradman Strategy is a four-step process:

First, you need to own your own home before you retire.

Second, you (currently) need to have $250,000 in super (couples), or $170,000 (singles).

Third, you need to claim the full age pension.

Fourth, you need to continue working a day or so a week.

And here’s where the gravy cup from Canberra really runneth over: retirees can earn $57,948 a year (couples) or $28,974 (singles) before they pay a dollar in tax. And if they just want to supplement the age pension — and not reduce it — they can earn $13,000 (couples) or $6,500 (singles) a year under Centrelink’s ‘Work Bonus’.

The Million-Dollar Myth

Let me be clear: having a million bucks or more in retirement is a very good thing, and if you follow my book from a younger age you’ll almost certainly achieve it.

However to say that you need a million-dollar nest egg is a myth, peddled by the finance industry who get paid by clipping a percentage of your assets. It’s also a myth that a successful retirement is never having to work again.  

It’s said that the two most dangerous years of your life are the year you’re born and the year you retire. (That’s possibly because your partner will kill you if you hang around too much messing up the house).

Now listen up: you don’t have to keep working at the same job. But it’s essential that you find work (paid or voluntary) where you feel like you’re making a contribution, helping people, even learning something new. It’s good for your savings and your self-confidence.

And that brings me to a very interesting discussion I had this week.

A Few Good Apples

I caught up with Matt Higgins, who runs Australia’s largest online jobs board for more mature employees — olderworkers.com.au. Matt started the business nine years ago with his old man, who at the time was struggling to find a job after being laid off and then being unemployed for two years. Today the site has over 50,000 registered older workers looking to connect with ‘age-friendly’ employers.

Who do you think these ‘age-friendly’ employers are?

Well, Bunnings (of course), the RSL (sure), and … Apple.

Huh?

Yes, Apple.

As in the technology company, not fruit-picking in Mildura.

In fact, at the moment they’re picking a bunch of oldies to work in their Apple stores across the country.

Why?

Well, Higgins says one reason is that Apple is getting a lot more older customers coming into their stores (and who knows, maybe the young blue-shirted hipster crew aren’t that jazzed about teaching grandma how to turn on her iPad?).

However, Higgins believes the main reason that Apple is advertising on his site is simple:

“Older people are bloody hard workers.”

Makes total sense. The older generation have a great work ethic. They turn up on time. They’re ready to work. They focus on the job at hand … instead of standing around staring at their phones and instagramming their lunches. Most importantly, when they’re on the job, they tend to really enjoy their work.

In fact, a survey of 17,000 Aussie workers released week by Curtin University backs this up. It found that workers aged 70 or older were three times more likely to be happy at work than their melancholy younger colleagues — Gen Y recorded the lowest level of job satisfaction, at only 24 per cent. And here’s the kicker: those who claimed to be very satisfied with their jobs earned a lower amount on average each week than their less-satisfied counterparts.

And that, my friends, is why Apple is the world’s biggest company. Hell, they’ve not only worked out how to dodge paying billions of dollars in taxes — they’ve cracked the code on hooking up happy, engaged workers!

The researcher behind the report, Professor Rebecca Cassells, said: “our research suggests that people working beyond the age of 65 are less likely to be doing it because they need the money … they’re doing it for the love of the job.”

Howzat!?

Tread Your Own Path!

P.S. Happy Birthday to Mrs Rickert, who turned 102 a few weeks back. You may remember that I interviewed her a couple of years ago to get a reality check on why all us young ’uns should harden the hell up.

She’s lived through the Great Depression, a flu pandemic that wiped out 100 million people, and two world wars. And how’s this for hard — she gave me the interview just after she’d finished mowing her lawns!

I asked Mrs Rickert how it feels to be 102, and she told me: “I don’t feel a day over 100.”