Working towards happiness: Retiring later is unlikely to affect men's quality of life

Dec 04, 2012

Raising the retirement age to increase financial stability does not make men worse off psychologically in the long-run, according to a new study by Dr. Elizabeth Mokyr Horner, from the University of California, Berkeley in the US. Her work shows that individuals go through the same psychological stages as they adjust to retirement, with life satisfaction stabilizing after 70, irrespective of how old they are when they retire. The study is published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.

As we live longer, the size of the retired population relative to that of tax payers is growing, creating mounting costs with dwindling resources. Despite country variation in public pension programs and retirement age regimes, the vast majority of current social security programs are financially unstable. As a result, several countries have been steadily raising their .

Dr. Mokyr Horner's work investigates the relationship between retirement and happiness in individuals near retirement and afterwards. She analyzed international data from the 2006 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe for 14 , the 2006 English Longitudinal Study of Ageing in the UK and the 2004 Health and Retirement Study for the US. The data covered a total of 18,345 fully retired men aged between 50-70 years. The researcher was particularly interested in how satisfied they were with their lives at different time points after retirement.

In the time surrounding retirement, the men experienced a large improvement in well-being and . A few years after retirement, however, levels of happiness fell rapidly. This happened irrespective of how old men were when they retired. In the long-run i.e. post 70 years, stabilized for all.

Dr. Mokyr Horner concludes: "A later formal retirement simply delays the well-being benefits of retirement in men, and age of formal retirement is relatively neutral with regard to overall happiness. Given the growing fiscal pressures to adjust the age of retirement upwards, it can be inferred from my studies that well-being may be, on balance, affected only marginally - if at all - by such changes."

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

More information: Horner EM (2012). Subjective well-being and retirement: analysis and policy recommendations. Journal of Happiness Studies; DOI 10.1007/s10902-012-9399-2

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The importance of workplace relationships post-retirement

Aug 17, 2010

The influence of traditional social structures such as neighbourhoods and local organisations has declined. The workplace has become the "new neighbourhood" and has become increasingly important for maintaining social interaction ...

To retire or not to retire?

Nov 08, 2010

Workers who agreed to take early retirement were likely to not have considered that option if it hadn't been for pressure at the workplace to do so. This has been revealed in a new study carried out at the University of Haifa ...

Much more to happy retirement than money

Sep 12, 2012

(Phys.org)—One of the most common questions people ask when planning for their retirement is how much money they will need, but a more pertinent question is to consider how they want to live, says UNSW  psychologist and ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.