Économie et Statistique n° 403-404 - 2007Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe
Wanting to Retire as Early as Possible: Health, Job Satisfaction and Monetary Factors
Individuals' wishes in terms of retirement age vary widely between and, indeed, within countries. The proportion of over 50-year-olds still in work who want to retire as early as possible varies from around 30% in the Netherlands to 67% in Spain. This aspiration for an early retirement may depend both on economic and non-economic factors. The latter particularly include job satisfaction, health and life expectancy: a poor state of health, low life expectancy and unsatisfying work are all reasons for wanting to retire as early as possible. But this desire may also depend on economic or monetary factors and particularly on the scale of retirement rights. Early retirement becomes feasible when favourable services are available from retirement age onwards. The desire to retire early should become less frequent when rights are less favourable or become available more gradually. By combining the data from the Share survey and the indicators of individual countries' retirement rights structures recently released by the OECD, it is possible to analyse the combined role of all these factors. On an individual level, it seems that health and job satisfaction are significant determiners of the desire to retire as early as possible: individuals who are on the whole satisfied with their job are 16% less likely to want to retire as soon as possible; declaring oneself to be in poor or very poor health has a more or less comparable inverse effect. However, these non-economic factors only explain a limited number of the differences between countries since on average they differ too insignificantly from country to country. On the other hand, the economic determiners seem to fairly satisfactorily explain some specific national characteristics.