Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Satisfaction and Engagement in Retirement
[28 July 2005 - Urban Institute] Many older workers look forward to retirement as the next phase in their lives. Some see retirement as a time to relax, travel, spend time with their families, and pursue hobbies. Others see it as an opportunity to engage in such productive activities as working part-time or volunteering. Yet retirement does not always turn out as people expect. Older adults without definite retirement plans may find themselves bored or depressed. Even those with specific retirement goals may experience unanticipated events, such as the onset of health problems or the need to care for a sick spouse or parent. Older adults' ability to pursue their retirement dreams can affect their satisfaction with retirement. Indeed, while the majority of older adults in the 2002 Health and Retirement Study (HRS)1 expressed high levels of satisfaction with retirement (61.5 percent), others said they were only somewhat satisfied (32.9 percent), and some reported dissatisfaction (5.6 percent). Many studies find that participating in productive activities at older ages is associated with better physical and mental health (Lum and Lightfoot 2005; Luoh and Herzog 2002; Morrow-Howell et al. 2003) and lower mortality (Luoh and Herzog 2002; Musick, Herzog, and House 1999). Although no one has considered the relationship between productive activities and retirement satisfaction, the two may be directly related. One study reported that 58 percent of volunteers said an important reason for helping others was to render their own lives more satisfying (Kutner and Love 2003). Engagement�defined in this series as time spent in paid work, formal volunteering, informal volunteering, and caregiving activities�could also relate to retirement satisfaction indirectly, for example, through increased physical and mental health. This brief analyzes patterns of engagement among retirees and how engagement relates to their retirement satisfaction. Data are from the 2002 HRS on adults age 55 and older who describe themselves as completely retired.2 The results show that engaged older Americans are more likely to be very satisfied with retirement than unengaged older adults�independent of age, sex, race, marital status, education, mental and physical health, and income. Retirees who provide only caregiving, however, are significantly less likely to be very satisfied than uninvolved retirees. The likelihood of being very satisfied with retirement increases with hours of engagement, but only up to a certain point. ...


Post a Comment

<< Home