Is Phased Retirement a State of Mind? The Role of Individual Preferences in Retirement Outcomes

John C. Scott, Cornell University

This paper examines the phenomena of phased retirement among older workers and whether the choice or desire for phased retirement consistently reflects the worker's values and goals on work and leisure. Using the Health and Retirement Study and alternative constructions of retirement status, this paper finds that phased retirement is not a path experienced by many workers. Moreover, phased retirement is more likely for those who value work as an activity that is important in and of itself or who have positive views of their occupations. However, other factors, such as education, were also significantly associated with phased retirement, but the associations varied according to how work-retirement status was defined. Moreover, phased retirees appeared to reach full retirement later than workers who did not take part in phased retirement. There are also substantial differences in results between wage-and-salary workers and the self-employed.

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Presented in Session 157: Demography of Retirement