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A lack of control over retirement impacts on wellbeing negatively, but a bridging job can smooth the transition into retirement, buffering potential negative impacts

Evidence into action

  • Policy measures could enable individuals to move into retirement through bridging jobs. Such measures could include support and advice for employers providing these jobs.
  • Employers and employee groups: Measures to promote workers’ control over their retirement timing might include more support for pension saving (particularly for low earners), alongside better information about retirement planning. Initiatives within organisations might include late career reviews, which encourage planning for retirement.
  • Policy makers, employers and employee groups: Poor wellbeing in retirement is associated with a lack of control over the retirement decision, especially when linked to poor health or limited employment prospects. Counter measures can include supporting older workers and those with health problems who wish to stay longer in the labour market and training to help individuals access bridging jobs.

Exploring the Evidence: The retirement transition and adjustment process

Multiple patterns are observed in terms of psychological wellbeing (PWB).

  1. The maintaining pattern: individuals cope with important changes in their lives by maintaining their familiar patterns of thought, behaviour, and relationships. This is the majority pattern (almost 70%). This group was composed of those who had a bridge job, had planned more actively for their retirement, were married and had a spouse who was present and not working.
  2. The recovery pattern: for those who were not satisfied with their career jobs, retirement can act as a way out from unpleasant work roles. For these kind of retirees, retirement is shown to be associated with an improved psychological wellbeing. This is a small minority pattern (under 5%). This group were was composed of those who retired from physically demanding, stressful, less satisfying jobs.
  3. An adjusting pattern: while initial retirement process resulted in worsening PWB, over time people adjust and report even better PWB compared to baseline. This is a significant minority pattern (over 20%). This group consisted of, those who had worsening health during retirement transition, had an early retirement and had unhappy marriage.

Source: Retirement and wellbeing