Many people have all the best intentions of working longer and delaying claiming Social Security. But more than a third of older workers retire earlier than planned. The question is, why? This Center for Retirement Research brief looks into the most common factors.
This study looks at: 1) the impact of unexpected changes in health, employment, family, and finances on early retirement; and 2) the prevalence of these shocks.
The findings suggest that:
- Health shocks play the largest role, mainly because they are also widespread.
- Job loss without finding a new job, while not as prevalent, is also important.
- Family transitions have a modest impact, while financial shocks appear to have little effect.
A key caveat is that all the shocks combined explain only about a quarter of earlier-than-planned retirements, so clearly other factors are also at play.