Major life-changing events and preferred retirement time among older adults : evidence from the 1992 to 2014 health and retirement study
This study evaluated the way life-changing events affect older adults’ preferred and actual retirement age using the 1992/1993, 1994/1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 surveys of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). In this dissertation, retirement timing was measured by the gap between a person’s actual retirement year and planned retirement year. The study focused on three categories of major life-changing events--marital, health, and financial status changes--and how they were associated with individuals’ retirement timing. The study compared characteristics of individuals who retired earlier than their preferred retirement time to those who delayed retirement and retired on time. The findings provide insights into the way life-changing events and other factors influence the time people exit the workforce. The discussion section offers recommendations for researchers as well as financial educators and practitioners working with older adults to increase awareness of life-changing events’ effects on retirement time. After controlling for other factors, the findings lend empirical support to the belief that some major life-changing events are significantly associated with individuals’ retirement time. The results showed consistent positive correlations between retirement timing and whether a person was widowed, experienced a positive income shock, or had diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Other life-changing events were found to have statistically significant negative correlations. Negative associations existed with mental health status changes; people who reported they were depressed or received a diagnosis of a psychiatric problem retired earlier than planned.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.