Retirement from Work
In the individual interviews the question was asked: In general, do you think that old people are happier if they keep their jobs as long as they can or if they give up their work while they still feel good?" This was a problem that did not involve most of them directly or immediately, but would involve all sooner or later. The opinions of the women not employed outside the home were equally important, since this is a family problem. So the whole sample was included.
A majority (61 per cent) replied, "Keep working as long as they can"; only 11 per cent, "Retire while they still feel good." The intermediate opinion was "It depends on the person, job, situation, etc." (22 per cent). Of the remaining 6 per cent a few suggested "an easier job" as a transition and others gave no answer or made only miscellaneous comments.
The reasons given for "keep on working" included in substance that regular work keeps their minds occupied or the activity of regular work is better for their mental health; that they stay younger, live longer, have better physical health; and that earning money makes them feel useful, wanted, important, secure, or independent, besides some miscellaneous reasons.
And those whose opinion was qualified ("It depends") cited mainly these considerations: "whether or not they can afford to retire" and "whether or not they have outside hobbies, interests, etc." (implying that they need to be occupied, busy, physically and mentally).
In the discussion groups the question of age of retirement seems not to have been specifically brought up in most of the groups of working women, but retirement provisions were mentioned as benefits included in compensation. In one group, however, the same question as was asked in individual interviews, "In general, do you think old people are happier to keep their jobs as long as they can?" elicited numerous replies.
"All depends upon what they did in their earlier years. If they have