Did the Great Recession influence retirement plans?

Res Aging. 2015 Apr;37(3):275-305. doi: 10.1177/0164027514530171. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


The recent recession constitutes one of the macro forces that may have influenced workers' retirement plans. We evaluate a multilevel model that addresses the influence of macro-, meso-, and micro-level factors on retirement plans, changes in these plans, and expected retirement age. Using data from Waves 8 and 9 of the Health and Retirement Study (N=2,618), we find that individuals with defined benefit plans are more prone to change toward plans to stop work before the stock market declined, whereas the opposite trend holds for those without pensions. Debts, ability to reduce work hours, and firm unionization also influenced retirement plans. Findings suggest retirement planning education may be particularly important for workers without defined pensions, especially in times of economic volatility.

Keywords: employment; gradual retirement; older worker; pensions; retirement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Community Participation / economics
  • Community Participation / trends
  • Economic Recession / trends*
  • Employment / economics*
  • Employment / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income / trends*
  • Investments / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Pensions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retirement / economics*
  • Retirement / trends
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / trends
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States