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Case Western Reserve University study examines working couple's retirement patterns
Date:11/18/2008

yed.

They found 41 work/retirement transition patterns for husbands and 49 patterns for wives. Approximately 40 percent of the couples have the same retirement pattern as their spouse.

"What became evident is that retirement is a couple-level event," they report.

It can vary from full retirement with a return to the workplace years later, or it can gradually take place from full to part time employment.

While most studies focus on individuals retiring, the researchers say there is growing evidence that in retirement for married couples needs to be viewed by how it affects husbands and wives.

Curl pointed out that women who stop working to care for a family member may need counseling to review options from quitting work to taking a family leave, which may be more beneficial financially in the long termparticularly if the woman needs to return to the workplace for financial support after a spouse dies.

"Many women quit work to provide caregiving for a loved one who has experienced a health crisis, without exploring all the workplace options and alternatives," said Curl.

The researchers wrote, "As the Baby Boomer generation ages and the number of married couples facing retirement decisions grow, there is a pressing need for empirical evidence to provide a solid basis for policy and practice."

Curl noted that among the practices that policy makers and employers may need to build into the workplace is the flexibility to accommodate the different working patterns for older people who may still want or need to work or for those who have skills for a particular job.

When couples attend counseling, Townsend explained that social workers need to help them think through questions, strategies and planning for the future that takes into consideration both spouses.


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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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