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Unretiring: what to consider if you choose to return to work

Unretiring: what to consider if you choose to return to work

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Whilst retirement has traditionally been a desirable end goal for everyone in the workforce, in recent years the phenomenon of unretiring has become more and more prevalent. Unretiring is the growing trend of retirees, or those who are approaching retirement, choosing to continue working. The circumstances behind this decision vary and often depend on an individual’s financial, mental, physical, emotional, or even social status.

According to AustralianSuper, research shows that approximately half (42%) of Australians who returned to the workforce after retiring, did so because of financial needs. The second most common reason (32%) for returning to work was due to boredom and needing something to do. Some of the other key reasons causing people to consider unretiring were to seek fulfillment and keep their mind active. Some key benefits for employers are that it combats ageism in the workforce, ensures skills are passed on and can offer good mentorship for younger staff members.

When considering ‘unretiring’, there are some important questions to ask yourself before choosing to return to work:

Social Security

  • Am I in receipt of an Age Pension?
  • If yes, how much income can I earn whilst in receipt of an Age Pension?
  • How do I let Centrelink/DVA know of my new employment and income?


  • Do I still have a superannuation fund?
  • What information do I need to provide my employer for contributions?
  • How much can I contribute?


  • What amount can I earn without paying tax?
  • What if I have already lodged my final tax return?

Rich Life

  • Am I considering unretiring for enjoyment or because I need the money?
  • What will I be giving up if I go back to work?
  • Will I enjoy the time I spend at work?
  • If money was of no concern, would I want to spend my time working?
  • Will the job use my existing skills or help me to develop new ones?

As you can see, the financial benefit is only one consideration amongst many when deciding to return to work – we have heard many great stories from our clients who have unretired to develop new skills, meet new people and keep themselves busy. Considering unretiring? Reach out to us for personalised assistance before you make any final decision – we can help guide you through the answers, and associated actions, of these questions.

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