The Australian Seniors Series: 2021 Mindset Shift

The Australian Seniors Series: 2021 Mindset Shift The 2021 Mindset Shift report forms part of the Australian Seniors Series and explores the subject matters that are important to our senior community.

In 2020, we showed resilience in the face of what some may say was one of the toughest periods of our lifetime. It’s fair to say that in the post-pandemic era, we’re more than ready to get on with living life to the fullest – although perhaps in a slightly different way than we’d planned pre-COVID-19. We shifted our mindsets and have adjusted to the new normal, whilst also looking ahead to what the remainder of 2021 has in store for us.

The 2021 Mindset Shift report forms part of the Australian Seniors Series and explores the subject matters that are important to our senior community. Surveying 5,000 Australians over 50, this chapter explores their ambitions, change in life perception, retirement plans and the thoughts they have around their own mortality.

infographic showing survey results

COVID-19 put a massive halt on all the exciting things we were looking to do in 2020 – travel (both internationally and domestically) was shut down, and we were forced to self-isolate and socially distance from our loved ones. Our time at home had us reflecting and thinking about what we truly wanted in life, and our seniors were no different.

In fact, more than two in three (67.4%) of those surveyed experienced a shift in mindset following 2020. A common mindset change was around family time, with more than half (56.0%) wanting to focus on spending more quality time with loved ones in 2021 and beyond. Interestingly, four in 10 (43.6%) are living more in the day-to-day, as opposed to a quarter (25.4%) who are looking towards the future. These findings make practical sense, seeing as COVID-19 had forced all of us to live in the present, not knowing what the next day, month, or year would bring. The seniors surveyed have also become more conscious and focused on the issues of the world and what’s happening around them (47.1%), while only 19.8% are avoiding issues that don’t directly impact them.

After a year of uncertainty, not only did their mindset change, but they also saw a shift in their priorities. If 2020 taught them anything, it was that they need to be prepared for the unknown, and three in four (74.3%) have felt the need to adjust their priorities.

Health tops the list (50.0%), followed by maintaining connections with family and friends (42.5%), and being mindful of their spending (35.0%).

More than half (52.0%) are looking to save more money, and in turn, almost half (45.5%) are looking to spend less money. Just over one in five (22.1%) of those surveyed are looking to sort out a will and testament this year.

Going through self-isolation over the course of the pandemic had many reflecting on what they wanted to do post-lockdown. Over half (54.8%) say 2020 has made them consider what they want out of life a bit more, and just under half (47.5%) have been considering their purpose more.

One in five (20.6%) have a bucket list, and a further one in five (20.9%) would like to have one. International travel comes in as the top item, with over one-third (35.0%) looking to travel outside of Australia. On the other hand, 30.5% want to explore their own backyard and travel domestically. Of those who have a bucket list, around one-quarter (25.9%) changed and/or rearranged their bucket list items over the last 12 months. 

Despite all the turmoil that came from the pandemic, 31.2% are feeling hopeful and positive. They’ve had a chance to reflect on their lives and what they want out of them, and are now looking to move forward with new goals and a fresh perspective.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Australian Seniors Series – a report for seniors by Australian Seniors.