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Australian retirees keen to volunteer
15 May 2006

Australian retirees look forward to "freedom" and are keen to volunteer according to a new international survey into retirement by French Insurance Group AXA.

British and US pensioners love to travel abroad, Germans plunge into sport, Canadians into charity work and the French go for gardening. Italians and Spanish are more prone to do nothing when they retire.

That is the conclusion of the international survey carried out by AXA in eleven industrialised countries where greater longevity is expected to create a squeeze on retirement funding in the decades ahead.

Japan, one of 11 countries surveyed, was the only one where a majority want to work beyond a legal retirement age of 61 according to the survey of nearly 7000 people.

Elsewhere, most people would like to leave years before retirement age, which varied from 58 to 65 in the examined locations - the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

The survey said Britons and Americans were most likely to go on prolonged foreign holidays. Germans also liked to travel, but more preferred sporting activities.

According to this study Australians are among the world’s most active retirees. Some 44% of Australian retirees have a hobby, 32% love DIY and gardening, 27% play sport and 23% are volunteers.

In a breakdown of the figures by each country, Australians are leaders in volunteer work, after Hong Kong, with Canada in third place.

Some 18% of working Australians expect to volunteer in their retirement and 23% of retirees are already involved in volunteer work. Some 15% of Canadians expect to volunteer when they give up fulltime work and 26% of retirees are already involved in organised volunteering.

The survey found that Australians are among the most ‘selfish’ about inheritance with only 23% of working Aussies planning to maintain their savings to pass on to their children. However more retired Australians are currently putting money aside for their children.