Retiring earlier than planned: What matters most?

TitleRetiring earlier than planned: What matters most?
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMunnell, AH, Rutledge, MS, Sanzenbacher, GT
Series TitleIssue in Brief
Document NumberIB#19-3
InstitutionCenter for Retirement Research at Boston College
CityNewton, MA
KeywordsHealth Shocks, Retirement Planning & Satisfaction, Wealth Shocks

The brief’s key findings are:

More than a third of older workers retire earlier than planned: the question is why? This study looks at: 1) the impact of unexpected changes in health, employment, family, and finances on early retirement; and 2) the prevalence of these shocks.The findings suggest that:

Health shocks play the largest role, mainly because they are widespread.Job loss without finding a new job, while not as prevalent, is also important.
Family transitions have a modest impact, while financial shocks appear to have little effect.

A key caveat is that all the shocks combined explain only about a quarter of earlier-than-planned retirements, so clearly other factors are also at play.

Citation Key10090