Retirement and wellbeing

Does retirement bring about happiness and boost wellbeing?
What guarantees a smooth transition into retirement and makes a happy retiree?




The way we retire matters for our mental health and wellbeing.

While we might assume packing work in and heading into retirement might make us happier, this research says how and why we retire is important to our wellbeing.

Also, who we are makes a difference: mes struggle more with wellbeing, especially if their wife* continues working.

The systematic review examines the global evidence base of mental health and wellbeing research. Half of the studies reviewed find that retirement was associated with improved wellbeing, however the other half showed no improvement in mental health or wellbeing and in some cases a worsening.

The study found that ‘bridging jobs’ could make retirement happier. It suggests that employers should support older workers to ‘wind-down’ into retirement with the choice of bridging jobs or reduced working hours.

The most important factor is control over retirement timing. Being forced to retire due to restructuring or ill health is negative for mental health and wellbeing. Those who take up bridging jobs because of financial strain showed lower wellbeing.

The study also found that:

  • leaving a more prestigious, satisfying job decreased your life satisfaction on retirement
  • predictably, retirees who are satisfied with their home lives and had support networks fare better
  • those with a higher education tend to benefit more from retirement.
* Based on a longditudinal study findings that started in the 19xx?, which didn’t reflect same-sex or non-marital partnerships.

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