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How an ageing superhero echoes our experiences

Almost 58 years ago, Action Comics published a look into the future of the then 22-year-old Superman as a senior citizen. The cover illustration shows a grey-haired Superman – still wearing his red cape yet with a walking stick – sitting on a park bench with an also grey-haired Lois Lane.

The rather poignant comic strip, The old man of the metropolis, depicts an ageing hero who is trying to come to terms with the weakening of his super powers.

When Superman finally turned 80 this year, he was still working as a superhero on a clearly part-time basis, yet had retired from his Daily Planet reporting job in the guise of the mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent.

Hopefully, Superman had the foresight to make the most of the Daily Planet’s retirement plan or super fund. And his decision to keep working provides an interest, and perhaps a little income, to subsidise his retirement lifestyle.

A fifth of Australia’s workforce over 45 plans to keep working long past traditional retirement ages, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Just like Superman.

As well, Superman is unlikely to become bored as he ages. Apart from money, boredom is the main reason why 5 per cent of Australian retirees want to return to work, another ABS finding.

Besides the satisfaction that many people find in working into old age if possible given such considerations as health and employment opportunities, there’s the money side of it.

As Smart Investing comments from time to time, a longer working life if possible may provide an opportunity to save more for what will be a shorter and, therefore, less-costly retirement.

An Economist magazine special report, The new old, on the economics of ageing, opens with a few words from Mick Jagger, who has just turned 75. “No age jokes tonight, all right,” says Jagger as he opens a Rolling Stone performance.

The Economist argues that the world’s rapidly ageing population can provide a valuable “longevity dividend” in such ways as making the most of older employees, often part-time, workers and older entrepreneurs and improving retirement products.

“The pessimism about ageing populations is based on the idea that the moment people turn 65, they move from being net contributors to the economy to net recipients of benefits,” the magazine comments. “But if many more of them remain economically active, the process will become much more gradual and nuanced.”

“The most important way of making retirement financially sustainable will be to postpone it by working longer,” the report’s authors add. “But much can be gained, too, by improving retirement products.”

Think about your personal position and those of your family. Pleases contact us on 1300 181 707 perhaps we can turn the so-called “grey tsunami” to your advantage.


Source : Vanguard August 2018 

Written by Robin Bowerman Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard.

Reproduced with permission of Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd

Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (ABN 72 072 881 086 / AFS Licence 227263) is the product issuer. We have not taken yours and your clients’ circumstances into account when preparing this material so it may not be applicable to the particular situation you are considering. You should consider your circumstances and our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Prospectus before making any investment decision. You can access our PDS or Prospectus online or by calling us. This material was prepared in good faith and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions. Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

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