Effects of the early and mid career life course on the intentions to retire

Chantal Goes, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Kène Henkens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

The introduction of flexible retirement schemes in the Netherlands as well as in other Western countries makes grasping the transition from employment to nonemployment more and more complex. What was first viewed as an abrupt one-time event is now seen as an evolving process embedded in the life course as well as the social network of individuals. Most of the existing research on retirement decision making focuses on characteristics and contingencies of the life phase surrounding retirement. However, these characteristics and contingencies are outcomes of events and decisions that occurred earlier in the life course. Only few studies pay attention to early and mid career investments in social and human capital on retirement decisions. The present study will explicitly do this and aims at filling this empirical gap. The objective of the study is to investigate if and how the early life course (work history, health trajectory, family history) influences retirement intentions. The analyses of this study are based on Dutch multi-actor panel data from the NIDI Older Workers and Retirement Survey 2001-2007 (N= 1675) carried out among older workers and their partners. This dataset includes information on events, transitions and processes that occurred along different life domain trajectories during the life course of the individual and its partner as well as on current characteristics of the various trajectories the workers. Preliminary results of the regression analyses to explain retirement intentions show that early and mid career investments in human capital are related to later retirement. These findings suggest continuing investments during the career help to extent the working lives of older workers.

Presented in Session 13: A Life-Course Perspective on Retirement