New publication on retirement intention and actual retirement

Research on the correspondence between retirement intentions and subsequent behaviour is scarce. We aimed to explore possible associations between retirement intentions and behaviour, using five-year high-quality quantitative panel data on Norwegian senior workers. Retirement intentions operate at different levels of firmness: (a) considerations; (b) preferences; and (c) decisions. Compared to work continuation considerations, a targeted age for retirement improved predictive power whether the target was preferred or decided, and particularly so if the target (i.e. the preferred or decided age of retirement), corresponded with a normative retirement age. Because more workers are able to state a preferred age of retiring than a decision about when to retire, preferences may be better proxies for retirement behaviour than decisions, when the issue is planning for policies. The correspondence between intentions and behaviour varies primarily by health, education and type of work. Older workers with poor health, and workers with low education, often retire earlier than they prefer. Blue-collar workers often retire earlier than they had decided. These findings illustrate the possible effect of labour market resources, not only for senior workers’ labour market participation, but also for their opportunities to work up to the age they prefer or had decided. Even for white-collar workers and those in good health, constraints seem to apply when they wish to retire late (read more).