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Older people are choosing to work – HSBC

GLOBAL - More older people are choosing to work beyond the age of 60 because they continue to feel healthy and want to feel they have some value for society beyond retirement age, according to a global study conducted for HSBC.

A report produced by the Oxford Institute of Ageing - the body of Oxford University which conducted the research - indicates the majority of older people over 60 do not feel they need to continue to work for financial reasons and should therefore be considered as the  "foundations upon which their nations build" because they contribute more to society than anticipated.

More specifically, the study of 21,000 people in 21 countries - including Denmark, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey and the UK - found in mature economies such as Europe and the US between a fifth and half of people are still working into their 60s.

According to the study, 4.6 million people in Russia, 3.3 million in Germany and 3.2 million in the UK are still in paid work and over the age of 60, but this drops to just 300,000 in France (or 1% of the population) and 100,000 in Turkey.

Figures calculated by HSBC also suggest in the UK, for example, people between the ages of 60 and 79 contribute £5.5bn (€8.1bn) a year in tax, as well as £4.2bn through voluntary work and £50bn in family care.

Findings suggest only 32% of people between the ages of 40-60 said they would miss the money they had earned when they retire while just one quarter (25%) of people above the age of 60 said they would miss the money as their greater concern is they would miss colleagues.

The study indicates over half of those questioned in Russia and France would like to work for as long as possible beyond retirement age.

In France, the fear of not being able to cope financially is felt by less than one-third of people as 68% of pre-retired and 70% of post-retirees said they were not worried about their finances.

That figure increases again in Denmark to 78% of pre-retirees who are not worried financially and 92% of those already retired while in Germany one in 10 over the age of 70 still have some form of paid work and three-quarters of people (75%) say they are not worried about finances at retirement.

That said, companies are failing to utilise this desire to continue working beyond retirement age, according to Professor Sarah Parker of the Institute, so governments and companies should do more to harness the skills of older people as myths suggesting they have nothing to offer are no longer true.

"By 2050, 35% of the population in Europe will be over the age of 60. At the millennium [2000], there were more older people compared with younger people in the UK. We are a mature society and in a few years it will happen in Asia too," said Parker.

"So if 50 is going to be the new 70 we need to prepare for it. Employers, do not lose your valuable older workers. You need them and should retain, recruit and retrain those over 50 as they are valuable and you are going to need them along with everyone else," she added.

Of those people surveyed globally who say who have continued to work beyond retirement age, 71% said it was not because they needed to work but because they wanted to feel valuable," she added.

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