Behavioral and psychological aspects of the retirement decision

Soc Secur Bull. 2011;71(4):15-32.


The majority of research on the retirement decision has focused on the health and wealth aspects of retirement. Such research concludes that people in better health and those enjoying a higher socioeconomic status tend to work longer than their less healthy and less wealthy counterparts. While financial and health concerns are a major part of the retirement decision, there are other issues that may affect the decision to retire that are unrelated to an individual's financial and health status. Judgment and decision-making and behavioral-economics research suggests that there may be a number of behavioral factors influencing the retirement decision. The author reviews and highlights such factors and offers a unique perspective on potential determinants of retirement behavior, including anchoring and framing effects, affective forecasting, hyperbolic discounting, and the planning fallacy. The author then describes findings from previous research and draws novel connections between existing decision-making research and the retirement decision.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pensions / statistics & numerical data
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • Social Class*