Retirement is becoming more of a process and less of an event, according to a survey conducted by AEGON in conjunction with the TransamericaCenter for Retirement Studies and Cicero Consulting.
Of current retirees, 63 percent said their retirement involved immediately stopping work, 23 percent said they changed their work patterns, 7 percent said they continued work while the rest characterized it in other ways. In contrast, among those of working age only 18 percent said they expect retirement will mean an immediate stop to all work, 51 percent said they expect to change work patterns, 22 percent said they plan to continue work and 9 percent said they don’t know.
The report noted that the expectation of immediately stopping work was the lowest in the United States among the 10 countries in which similar questions were asked.
"Employees are already changing their expectations for their transition into retirement. What is known as the retirement cliff – the point when an employee ends his or her working life and enters full-time retirement – is becoming a thing of the past. Increasingly, retirement is a phased transition from full-time working to partial retirement that still involves some type of work-related activity," the study said.
"This evolving vision of retirement not only signals an end to the traditional retirement cliff it also offers opportunities of working longer or working part-time to help close gaps in income, stay active and maintain social networks while still contributing to society. ‘Silver entrepreneurs’ could become more common as more people combine projects like starting their own businesses with travel and leisure pursuits during retirement," it added.
The report further constructed a retirement readiness index, although using different methods and data than other research into that subject, and found that among the 10 countries, readiness in the United States is second only to that in Germany.