Couples’ Retirement Timing in the United States in the 1990s: The Impact of Market and Family Role Demands on Joint Work Exits

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Janice I. Farkas Wassel, Director (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The timing of retirement among married couples is a complex process. As women remain attached to the labor market for longer periods of their lives and as they bring market resources such as pensions and health insurance to the couple’s retirement decision, they introduce new contingencies to the process and variability in job exits. Couples are most likely to coordinate their retirement timing to be as simultaneous as possible. However, the second most likely pattern is for husbands to precede their wives into retirement. This study used the Mature Women sample of the National Longitudinal Surveys between 1989 and 1997 to track the effects of family, pension, health insurance, and changes in spousal health statuses on joint and sequential retirement patterns. Proportional hazards models reveal that joint retirement is most likely among couples in which wives reach the ages of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare and among couples who have defined benefit plans. Alternatively, wives’ health insurance coverage from their own employment tends to result in their delayed retirements following their husbands’. Husbands’ health limitations and caregiving needs also delay their wives’ retirement, while wives’ health limitations are more likely to result in joint retirement.

Additional Information

International Journal of Sociology. 32(Summer)11-29
Language: English
Date: 2002
retirement, married couples, market demands, family role demands, pensions, health insurance

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