Understanding factors that impact on people’s adjustment to retirement

We are better preparing people for their retirement

Image of older female at computer

The Challenge

Retirement from work is a major life transition. For many, retirement is something to look forward to but for others, it can pose many challenges adjusting to new roles and circumstances. While many people enjoy the freedom that retirement offers, it has been estimated that approximately 25% of retirees experience difficulties resulting in adverse psychosocial outcomes.

The method

The emergence of new forms of working in later life, such as partial retirement, bridge jobs and un-retirement present a range of opportunities for older workers. To ensure everybody can enjoy a good later life, we need to better understand what factors can impact on people’s adjustment to retirement.

Dr Martin Hyde (School of Health and Social Care) and Professor Katrina Pritchard (School of Management), were amongst the team of multi-disciplinary, multinational researchers commissioned by The Centre for Ageing Better to conduct an extensive review to identify what factors impact on people’s attitudes towards their upcoming retirement and their experience of the period after they retire from paid work.

The team identified eight themes that impacted on retirement expectations and adjustment; i) gender, ii) socioeconomic position, iii) ethnic and cultural factors, iv) family situation, v) health, vi) attitudes to ageing, vii) work and occupation and, viii) preparedness and control.

Some of the key findings were:

  • control over the retirement process led to more positive adjustment to retirement; thus, people need the resources to be able to take control of their retirement.
  • those in less advantaged social positions tend to have more negative experiences of retirement consistent with research on social inequalities more generally.

The Impact

  • The review highlighted that greater focus on the impact of retirement on our social, psychological, and emotional wellbeing is required if we are to adequately support people to be able to successfully adjust to retirement.
  • The team have met with nest insight, a research and innovation unit in the nest workplace pension provider who are interested in a holistic and behavioural insights approach around engagement with pensions.
  • Citations of the work include the Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, volume 40.


Text reads Swansea University Research Themes