Does Socioeconomic Status Lead People to Retire Too Soon?

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, Anthony Webb and Anqi Chen, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, IB#16-14, August 2016

The brief’s key findings are:
• The ability to stay on the job long enough for a secure retirement may vary by socioeconomic status (SES).
• Using education for SES, the analysis calculates a retirement gap – the difference between how long households plan to work and how long they need to work.
• Not surprisingly, retirement gaps are both more common and larger among households in the bottom education quartile compared to those in higher quartiles.
• Even after controlling for demographic/financial characteristics and pre-retirement shocks, the bottom-quartile households still have much larger gaps.
• Thus, premature retirement by low-SES households is a big problem. However, relatively poor health and job prospects may make it harder for them to work longer.