Women's retirement expectations: How stable are they?

Jen D. Wong, Melissa A. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women, we examine between- and within-person differences in expected retirement age as a key element of the retirement planning process. The expectation typologies of 1,626 women born between 1923 and 1937 were classified jointly on the basis of specificity and consistency. Methods. Latent class analysis was used to determine retirement expectation patterns over a 7-year span. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were employed to estimate the effects of demographic and status characteristics on the likelihood of reporting 4 distinct longitudinal patterns of retirement expectations. Results. Substantial heterogeneity in reports of expected retirement age between and within individuals over the 7-year span was found. Demographic and status characteristics, specifically age, race, marital status, job tenure, and recent job change, sorted respondents into different retirement expectation patterns. Conclusions. The frequent within-person fluctuations and substantial between-person heterogeneity in retirement expectations indicate uncertainty and variability in both expectations and process of expectation formation. Variability in respondents' reports suggests that studying retirement expectations at multiple time points better captures the dynamics of preretirement planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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