Couples Retirement Expectations across Time

Jonathan Jackson, University of Maryland
Phyllis Moen, University of Minnesota

Research has long established that most individuals do not formulate retirement plans on their own, but in conjunction with their spouses. However, dual-earner employment and the complexity of both work and family lives have broken down traditional retirement planning, expectations, and behavior. A combination of structural transformations in and the precariousness of contemporary work, the dismantling of employer-provided pension benefits, women’s greater attachment to paid employment, less stable marital partnerships along with remarriage have upended both retirement as a status transition and the planning process. With the retirement transition becoming longer and less orderly, the range of retirement choices and decision-making has expanded. This paper draws on data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine differences in retirement expectations both within and between couple partners, focusing on how they shape each others retirement plans across the life course.

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Presented in Session 175: Couple Dynamics and Relationships in Later Life