Working After Retirement
A study by Ellen Dingemans and Kène Henkens analysed life satisfaction between full retirees and working retirees in Europe. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), they looked at retirees in 16 European countries. Overall, they found that the relationship between life satisfaction and working after retirement is related to where one lives, the individual’s pension income, and whether one still has a partner or not.
The first observation was that where an individual lives influences whether he or she is likely to work after retirement. On average, around 1 in 10 retirees in the sample continued to work, but there was a noticeable difference based on the country of residence. For example, in Slovenia, Spain and Poland, about 2-4% of retirees continued to work while one in five kept working in Switzerland, Sweden and Estonia. Earlier studies showed that these differences have to do with the generosity of the pension system and social norms supporting working during retirement.
The relationship between working in retirement and wellbeing is complex. They found that for retirees receiving a low level of pension, post-retirement work is associated with higher levels of wellbeing. For retirees with high pension levels, there is no relationship between post-retirement work and wellbeing. The relationship between work and wellbeing is also dependent on the country context, with richer countries showing weaker relationship between post-retirement work and wellbeing. Post retirement work is also more important for wellbeing among those retirees without a partner relationship.
Dingemans and Henkens recommend policies to increase pension coverage and individual savings over the life course since it is expected the financial situation in retirement to be poor for many in the future. But, they also suggest policies that remove the barriers to employment for those retired individuals that do want to continue working.