Expectations and Realization of Joint Retirement among Dual-Worker Couples

Ho, JeongHwa, and James Raymo
Working paper no. 2007-16


Using data from the first five waves of the Health and Retirement Study (1992~2000), we examine: (1) the extent to which joint retirement expectations are realized, (2) the role of couple-level agreement in facilitating joint retirement, (3) whether husbands’ or wives’ expectations are more likely to be realized in the case of disagreement, and, (4) the factors that facilitate or hinder the realization of expectations. Results indicate that couples expecting joint retirement are over four times more likely to retire jointly compared to couples in which neither spouse expected to do so. However, the probabilities of joint retirement do not differ between couples who both expect joint retirement and those who have discordant expectations. We also find that wives’ and husbands’ expectations are equally strong predictors of joint retirement and that retirement age, relative earnings, financial concerns, and spousal discussion are related to the likelihood of realizing joint retirement expectations.