A new book by a Swinburne researcher exploring the working lives of gay men reveals that younger gay men are more prepared for retirement than their predecessors.
‘Gay Men’s Working Lives, Retirement and Old Age’ is the latest book from Swinburne Senior Lecturer of Sociology and History, Dr Peter Robinson, comprising of interviews with three groups of gay men born between 1924 and 1986.
In conducting and compiling interviews, Dr Robinson said he was surprised to find that younger gay men were the group most prepared for retirement.
“Now that same-sex marriage is within reach in Australia and the path towards starting a family is easier than ever for younger gay men, many are more seriously considering and planning for their futures from a younger age compared to previous generations,” he says.
“The young group of gay men that I interviewed showed a knowledge of and interest in old age planning, especially those that came from upper-middle-class families.
“Their awareness of retirement was part of a general awareness of the value of property ownership and estate planning.”
The desire of young gay men to pursue marriage and children, or “fit in with straight society”, affects their future plans and can potentially marginalise their older peers, says Dr Robinson.
“Many young gay men choose to embrace their new identity as ‘pseudo-straights’, which may leave the middle-aged generation of baby boomers marginalised along with their reformist views and beliefs about relationships and family.”
Baby boomers and beyond
Throughout his interviews, Dr Robinson found that many gay men aged over 60 showed a desire to work until end of life and had no plans for retirement.
“Many of these men planned to continue working ‘till they dropped’ and had poorly planned superannuation,” he says
Dr Robinson found that many baby boomers who had survived the HIV/AIDS crisis were also ill-prepared for retirement.
“Baby boomers interviewed included a number of people living with HIV/AIDS who had not expected to live to old age and hence had no structured plans for old age.”
‘Gay Men’s Working Lives, Retirement and Old Age’ is available now through Springer.