This paper studies the effect of both retirement and unemployment on life satisfaction, using subjective satisfaction indicators from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Moreover, we analyze how accurate individuals anticipate changes in satisfaction around retirement, as well as the correlation between the forecast error in life satisfaction and the labor market status. Being unemployed has a significant negative effect on life satisfaction; (in)voluntary retirement on the other hand has no significant effect on life satisfaction. A new finding is that unemployed individuals underestimate future life satisfaction. That is, their current labor market status has temporary negative effects on well-being, but, after 5 years, individuals are happier with their life than previously anticipated. We find no effects of (in)voluntary retirement on the forecast error.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.

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