Most Senior Citizens Willing to Work to Make Ends Meet

  • By Kum Won-sub

    October 19, 2017 08:39

    A majority of older people receive no pension, and those who do get a paltry W520,000 a month, according to a study by Statistics Korea (US$1=W1,132). The payments include money from the National Pension Service and private pensions.

    Six out of 10 senior citizens say they are willing to work to make ends meet. As of May, there were 12.92 million people between 55 and 79, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier. Some 7.1 million or 54.8 percent were employed.

    Senior citizens with no source of income rely either on their savings or on money from their children. Some 45.3 percent of senior citizens said they mostly live on their pension, which is usually not enough to help them make ends meet, and some 73.7 percent of those said they get less than W500,000 a month.

    A mere 8.7 percent received more than W1.5 million in pensions a month, and four percent between W1 million and W1.5 million, and 13.6 percent between W500,000 to W1 million. That brings the average to just W520,000.

    Because so many are unable to make ends meet, 62.4 percent said they want to work. Asked why they wanted to work, 58.3 percent of them said they need money to survive, while 34.4 percent said they enjoy working. Some 3.3 percent said they are bored and 2.3 percent said society needs them.

    Asked how much longer they want to work, those between 55 and 59 said until they turn 69, and those between 75 and 79 until they turn 81. "Koreans are now living longer than ever and need more income," a Statistics Korea official said. "The improving quality of health among senior citizens is also prompting more of them to work longer."

    Asked why they quit their jobs, only eight percent of respondents between 55 and 64 said they reached retirement age, while 30.6 percent said they had to leave because business was bad or the company closed. Only 19.8 percent quit for health reasons and 13 percent to care for their families. The average age when Koreans quit their longest-held jobs was 49.1.

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