New survey reveals baby boomers are planning to live, not retire

17 May 2006

Baby Boomers1 are set to change the face of retirement as they plan to travel, take up new hobbies, spend time with family and work at least part time, according to a survey2 released today by the Commonwealth Bank.

The Bank’s Lifestyle Aspirations survey also revealed that not only do almost 60 per cent expect their retirement lifestyle to be better than their parents’, more than two thirds (68 per cent) believe they will be able to afford to live the lifestyle they want.

Tim Gunning, General Manager Commonwealth Financial Planning, said, "Unlike their parents, this generation sees retirement as the chance to live life to the full and do the things they put off earlier in life due to other commitments. When it comes to financing these plans, a significant proportion of Baby Boomers are already making preparations to see them on their way."

According to the Bank’s Lifestyle Aspirations survey, in anticipation of their retirement, Baby Boomers are actively taking control of their finances: 56 per cent are building assets such as shares and property, 44 per cent are making regular additional superannuation contributions, the same percentage have sought advice from a financial planner and 43 per cent are making additional savings outside of their super.

They plan to spend their savings in retirement on things such as home renovations (40 per cent), upgrading possessions (40 per cent), eating out more (40 per cent) and their grandchildren and children (44 per cent). Travel and hobbies also feature heavily in the plans. Eighty five per cent expect to travel within Australia or overseas and 73 per cent plan to take up a new hobby.

The younger generations are already planning ahead towards enjoying their retirement years. Just one quarter of 25 – 44 year olds expect to rely on the Government pension. 82 per cent plan to fund their retirement from their superannuation fund, over half (55 per cent) are planning to draw from general savings or sell assets and 39 per cent are planning to use the equity in their homes.

For Baby Boomers, working commitments are expected to continue into retirement, with almost 40 per cent intending to work either full or part time.

"Money is not the sole motivating factor behind Baby Boomers working into retirement. They instead see work as a way to stay challenged and mentally active and sustain a link to the community they have been a part of for most of their lives.

The majority of people intending to work expect to be able to reduce their hours with their current employer, but almost half are looking forward to getting involved in volunteer work and one third are planning to learn totally new skills through further study or re-training.

"With retirement lifestyle needs and desires changing with each generation, seeking the right advice as early as possible will help people of all ages to optimise their finances and maximise their retirement income to ensure their savings will last," said Mr Gunning.

The Lifestyle Aspirations survey shows that of those who believe they won’t be able to afford the retirement lifestyle they would like, over one third (36 per cent) say this is because they have put off planning for too long and a almost a quarter (23 per cent) say they are not even sure how to plan.

"Financial planning is accessible to everyone and an accredited financial planner can help make that process as easy as possible, providing people with the necessary tools and information to make informed decisions about their investments and retirement savings. It is never too late, or too early, to start planning or to reassess your planning for retirement."

To offer advice on how to take control of retirement planning, Commonwealth Financial Planning is running 200 free seminars nationally throughout May and June 2006. Commonwealth Bank branches will have information on any seminars taking place in their area.

Commonwealth Financial Planning offers a wide range of expertise via one of the largest networks of financial planners nationally including the largest percentage of female planners, all who are equipped with the resources necessary to make the desired retirement lifestyle a possibility.

To learn more about seeing a Commonwealth Financial Planner or the seminars, simply call 1800 241996 from 8:30am-5:00pm Monday to Friday or log onto or visit your nearest Commonwealth Bank branch.

1 For the purpose of this study ‘Baby Boomers’ refer to 45 – 64 year olds

2 The ‘Lifestyle Aspirations’ survey was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank in March 2006 by telephone among a representative sample of 370 respondents aged 45-64 and 364 respondents aged 25-44. The study was conducted nationally and respondents were aged 18 years and over.

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Notes to editors and media contact:

The following supporting materials are also available:

  • ‘Lifestyle Aspirations’ survey highlights; and
  • Top Tips to Actively Plan Ahead for your Retirement


For more information, contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager, Media and Issues Management
Commonwealth Bank

Phone: (02) 9378 2663
Mob: 0414 789 649