Re-Examining Retirement: A Look at 7 Pressing Issues with Retiring Today

As the landscape of retirement is rapidly changing, a group of researchers and public officials recently outlined seven pressing retirement issues and questions surrounding them that require answers to successfully address the challenges posed by an aging society.

The first topic is the changing meaning of retirement. Instead of looking to retirement as a goal at the end of one’s working life, what does retirement look like as a life stage? Research can help answer questions regarding what gives lifestyles structure, coherence, and meaning during this period. Beyond personal gratification, how can the human capital of retirees be applied to new roles and contributions to communities?

The second issue noted is the role that technology may play during retirement. Three areas were noted here: how technology can assist with financial aspects of retirement, how technology can facilitate working longer or a better work-life balance, and how technology can facilitate a healthy and socially connected retirement.

Third is the issue of which factors drive housing-related decisions in retirement.

The fourth issue touches on employers’ perspectives on an older workforce. How will employers respond to changing government policies? What do successful human resources policies for an older workforce look like? Why is there so much variation in organizational cultures’ responses to older employees?

The fifth question relates to how employees adapt to changing retirement policies. How will workers respond to later retirement ages?

The sixth issue raised is how the pension industry impacts options available to older adults and the lifestyles they’re able to pursue. This could be via the role of the industry in shaping policy or how pension funds themselves shape retirement opportunities.

Lastly, the issue of ethnic diversity was raised. In the European context, older adults are immigrating to other countries for both work and retirement, and in Europe and the United States, immigration is also changing the composition of the retiring populations. Both the ensuing diversity of retiree populations and impact of the social ties of retirees to their countries of origin merit additional research.


Henkens K, van Dalen HP, Ekerdt DJ, et al. What we need to know about retirement: pressing issues for the coming decade. The Gerontologist. (2017). DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnx095


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