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Ageing, Policies and Inequalities


Thu 27. 8.  16:00 - 17:30
room FA 203

Does retirement transition affect individual resources differently? The role of social class


Wetzel, Martin; Huxhold, Oliver
German Centre of Gerontology, Germany

_Objectives._ Retirement is a major life course transition which marks the transition into the third age. In the last decades, retirement research investigated foremost the adjustment processes in different well-being facets (mostly life satisfaction) and explained these dynamics with changes in individual resources and social status. However, investigating changes in the resources directly found only little empirical attention. This study examined retirement-related changes in economic, personal, and social-relational resources and how these changes differ by the labour market status prior retirement and education. _Methods._ We used longitudinal data of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS 1996-2008). Within the DEAS, 311 retirees were identified with observations prior and after retirement. We estimated dual change score models for multiple resources (OECD income, health, activity, family and non-family network, social support). Using a multi-group approach, we differentiated between retirees who worked before and retirees who did not work before retirement. To predict the heterogeneous changes, indicators of social class were included. _Results._ In general, even though retirement did not affect the mean level of the majority of resources, the developments within the transition groups are heterogeneous. Differences in levels between both transition groups were found only for income and for social network sizes. Those previously not working increase their income with retirement transition whereas those previously working show no changes in income. For both groups, retirement reduced social support. Education predicted differential development in most resources for those previously working. _Discussion._ Retirement affects in average individual resources only modestly. However, retirement changes the distribution of resources especially within the group of those who worked previously. Accordingly, retirement marks a transition towards more inequality.