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Majority of small businesses against raising retirement age

8 March 2017

Majority of small business owners against raising retirement age

Forty-seven percent of SME owners against raising age of superannuation entitlements to 67 according to the most recent MYOB Business Monitor Survey

The age of eligibility for superannuation looks set to be a hot election issue with Prime Minister Bill English signalling a re-elected National government will legislate for the age to increase to 67 years.

However, opinion on any increase amongst owners of small to medium business owners is mixed, with a majority against raising the age.

In MYOB’s most recent Business Monitor Survey of 1,012 SME owners around New Zealand, 47 percent were opposed to progressively raising the age of entitlement to 67, 37 percent supported such a move, while 17 stated no preference.

There were noticeable differences in age group opinion, with 62 percent of Gen Y (18 to 34-year-olds) against any age change, while 49 percent of Traditionalists (70+) were in favour. Gen X (35-49) and Baby Boomers (50-69) recorded 50 percent and 45 percent opposition respectively.

MYOB has asked a question about raising the retirement age in every annual Business Monitor survey since 2013. Opposition to a raise has remained steadily in the mid-40s (averaging 47 percent) for the history of the survey, with the most recent poll conducted in the third quarter of 2016, before the issue was again raised for public debate.

“Our survey reveals most small business owners are against raising the age of eligibility for superannuation. Many of them are in demanding roles that take their toll on body and mind, so it’s understandable they support the age staying as it is,” says MYOB New Zealand General Manager Carolyn Luey.

“On the other hand, many businesspeople recognise that the country faces increasing costs of national superannuation at a time when the population is living longer. A lot of small business people are already planning on working into their late 60s and beyond.”

The survey found 5 percent of all small business owners in New Zealand started their business because they had reached retirement age but wanted to keep working, while 16 percent said their small business was to help fund a semi-retirement.

“This is a tricky issue for our politicians and whether the age is raised or not, we would like to see more support for people to help them develop their skills and keep them engaged in business ownership and the wider workforce as they grow older,” says Ms Luey.

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