The Retirement Decision
In the best of all possible worlds . . . we would work a given number of years . . . then make our independent decision to retire. But in the real world, not only is our work often a fortuitous affair, but there is no guarantee of our personal prerogative of a retirement decision. We are influenced by the mandates of our employer, fatigue, changes in the work environment, and very important, the state of our health. These factors contribute in some measure to our voluntary or forced decision to retire.
The basis for a decision to retire and its significance is referred to by researchers in the field: "To understand the impact of retirement and how people adjust to it, we need to know why people stop working. What retirement means for the individual is affected by the circumstances surrounding the retirement. His past experience foreshadows the readjustments the retiree must face and in part determines the way he deals with retirement problems" ( Streib & Schneider, 1971).
Retirement decisions are made for a variety of reasons. Financial issues lead the list for most people--they have decided they can afford to retire. Whether or not their financial approach is based on sound footing, or whether they have resolved the future use of their time, retirement appears more pleasurable than continuing to work.
Clearly, if a person disliked his or her job, the work environment had changed or become too difficult, these would be sufficient reasons for retirement.