Experienced support from adult children in the retirement process

The retirement transition is often characterized by major changes in the lives of individuals. Support from their children may assist retirees in coping with these changes. Little is known, however, about
intergenerational support upon retirement. To what extent do parents feel they are supported by their children in their retirement process? And how can differences in the degree of perceived support be
explained? Two central theoretical frameworks from the literature on intergenerational relationships – one based on the principle of altruism and the other based on the principle of exchange – are combined with insights from the retirement literature to formulate hypotheses. These were tested by analyzing panel data collected among 709 fully retired individuals in the Netherlands. Information about perceived support from children upon retirement was collected during Wave 3 in 2011. The findings show that only a minority of the studied retirees experience support from their children in the retirement process. Retirees who do not have a partner, who have a poor financial situation, who regularly look after their grandchildren, or who often help their children with practical chores, are relatively likely to experience support from their children upon retirement. The number of working hours in preretirement years, involuntary retirement, and subjective health are not associated with the support experienced. This suggests that children are relatively likely to offer support to their parents upon retirement if support is
exchanged, and only act on potential indicators of need for support surrounding retirement to a limited extent.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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