An exploration of the relationship between retirement reasons and retirement congruency
Mount Saint Vincent University
Research has typically regarded retirement as forced or chosen, but the retirement decision is not necessarily a dichotomous one. Researchers have identified a third choice, part forced/part wanted category (Schellenberg & Silver, 2004; Szinovacz & Davey, 2005). A study carried out by Schellenberg and Silver (2004) examined how retirement experiences corresponded with retirement preferences, which they referred to as retirement congruency (RC). Three RC categories are possible: (a) low (no choice), (b) moderate (restricted choice), and (c) high (choice), however to date, limited research has been carried out on moderate congruence retirees (retired voluntarily, but would have continued working if conditions had been different). Using a modified version of Szinovacz and Davey’s (2005) perceptions of forced retirement model, the relationship between retirement reasons and an individual’s assessment of their retirement congruency was explored. Secondary data analysis of the 2007 General Social Survey was conducted on a sample of 1166 individuals who retired between the ages of 50 and 78 years. The percentages of individuals in the retirement congruency categories were: High: 30% (n = 347); Moderate: 53% (n = 615); and Low: 17% (n = 204). Multinomial logistic regression examined the factors that predicted RC membership. Eight variables (age at initial retirement, health, mandatory retirement, job loss, adequate income, early retirement plan, wanted to pursue leisure activities, and wanted to stop work) were significant in the low/high RC comparison (no choice versus choice). Nine variables (life satisfaction, age at initial retirement, job loss, discrimination, adequate income, early retirement plan, worked at an early age, wanted to pursue leisure activities, and wanted to stop work) were significant in the low/moderate RC comparison (no choice versus restricted choice), of which three were unique to this comparison (life satisfaction, discrimination, and having worked at an early age). Six of the same variables (age at initial retirement, job loss, adequate income, early retirement plan, pursue leisure activities, and wanted to stop work) were significant in the low/high and low/moderate RC comparisons. Five variables (health issues, mandatory retirement policies, CPP/tax rules, work was stressful/physical, and wanted to change career/work part-time) were significant when comparing moderate RC (restricted choice) with high RC (choice), of which three were unique to this comparison (CPP/tax rules, work was stressful/physical, and wanted to change career/work part-time). Overall, the results indicate that various factors lead to differing types of retirement congruency and that moderate RC is theoretically different from low and high RC. Furthermore, the results affirm that retirement decision making should be viewed along a continuum rather than as a dichotomous concept (forced versus chosen), as some retirement reasons are unique to moderate RC (part forced/part wanted) and have not been reported on in previous research. This study provides insight into what characteristics and conditions impact older workers’ decision to retire, which will assist employers, unions, educators, policymakers and government officials in the development of strategies and policies that will benefit many individuals.
Retirement , Retirement congruency