European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 439–453 | Cite as

Level and change in economic, social, and personal resources for people retiring from paid work and other labour market statuses

  • Martin WetzelEmail author
  • Catherine E. Bowen
  • Oliver Huxhold
Original Investigation


Well-being in retirement is thought to depend on person’s level of resources and how his or her resources change during retirement. However, to date few studies have directly investigated resource trajectories during retirement. The current study therefore examines how economic, personal, and social-relational resources change during the retirement transition for people retiring from paid employment and for people retiring from other, non-working labour market statuses (e.g. disability pension, homemaker, unemployment). Based on four representative baseline samples of the German Ageing Survey (1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014) and their respective 6-year follow-up interviews, we identified N = 586 retirees. We then used dual change score models to separately estimate the level and change in income, health, activity, family and non-family network size, and social support for people retiring from paid work (n = 384) and people retiring from other statuses (n = 202) adjusted for age, gender, education, region, period, and time since retirement. Overall, we found that resources changed only modestly during the retirement transition. Resource changes did, however, differ by last labour market status and sociodemographic characteristics. Income and social support declined and family networks increased for both those retiring from paid work and those retiring from other statuses. Leisure activities increased only for those retiring from paid work. No changes in health or non-family networks were observed. People with many resources before retirement also had many resources after retirement. We conclude that retirement affects resources less than researchers often expect. Accordingly, differences based on labour market remain despite retirement.


Retirement Resources Last labour market status Life course 



The German Ageing Survey is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Grant 301-1720-2/2).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.ViennaAustria
  3. 3.German Centre of GerontologyBerlinGermany

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