Older Workers’ Plans for Activities in Retirement: The Role of Opportunities, Spousal Support, and Time Perception

Retirement is a major life-course transition for which some people plan more than others. Given that planning positively affects retirement adjustment, it is important to investigate the heterogeneity in retirement planning and its antecedents. While financial preparation has been thoroughly investigated, little is known about the activities older workers plan to do in retirement. We hypothesize that older workers’ plans for retirement activities can be categorized into 3 domains: bridge employment, selfdevelopmental leisure, and social leisure. Moreover, we expect these plans to be affected by workers’ opportunities for continuity, spousal support, and perception of time. We test these hypotheses using data from the first wave of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute Pension Panel Study (NPPS). The study consists of a sample of almost 6,800 Dutch older workers who were asked about their plans to engage in 10 different activities in retirement. Where relevant, spouses of older workers were also surveyed, providing multiactor data for these couples (N  4,052). Our results support the classification of retirement activity plans into 3 domains. Moreover, the results of structural equation models confirm that the activities for which older workers plan are related to their opportunity structure (i.e., occupational status, number of preretirement leisure activities, number of social roles), spousal support to engage in these activities, and older workers’ perception of time (i.e., future time perspective,
perceived life expectancy). Our findings can help identify older workers who might face a more difficult retirement transition, because they have fewer plans to address the various psychosocial aspects of retirement.

Keywords: nonfinancial retirement planning, bridge employment, leisure activities, continuity theory, resource perspective
Supplemental materials: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pag0000377.supp

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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