|Title||Does the Option of Continued Work Later in Life Result in a More Optimistic View of Retirement?|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Cahill, KE, Smeaton, D, Principi, A, Socci, M, Santini, S|
|Series Title||Work Retirement and Wellbeing Working Paper|
|Keywords||Bridge employment, Optimism, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction|
This paper explores the link between work options and individuals’ views about retirement and overall well-being. Data for this paper come from 133 qualitative interviews of older individuals in the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy that were conducted in 2014 and from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Results from the qualitative interviews reveal that respondents in the US, relative to those in the UK and Italy, reported both a higher frequency of expecting to work in retirement and a more positive outlook for their retirement years. An examination of interview transcripts suggested a bifurcation among those who planned to work in retirement between: 1) those who viewed work as a contingency plan, for whom the outlook was generally positive; and 2) those who viewed work as a necessity for financial reasons, for whom the outlook was generally negative. This explanation was partly supported using data from the HRS. In both a descriptive and multivariate context, career wage-and-salary male respondents who reported some chance of working past age 65 had better retirement experiences and better mental health outcomes compared with those who expected to work past age 65 with certainty, while among women differences were not statistically significant. The findings from this paper suggest that optimism about retirement is related to the optionality of work in the years ahead.