H&A - March 12th, 2012.docx

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Work and Retirement in Later Life
Importance of work
Identity, meaning, social status, role, satisfaction, source of income
Retirement can be viewed as:
A social institution
A social role
A process
A phase of life
Institutionalization of retirement
For retirement to become institutionalized, conditions that must be present:
1. A large group of people must live long enough to retire
2. The economy must be productive enough to support people who are not in the work
3. There must be pensions or insurance programs to support people during their
retirement (political and societal influences.)
Institutional form of retirement
Is a function of numerous factors:
- Population aging
- The state of the economy
- Historical events (depression, recession, war)
- Pressures from various interest groups (unions)
- Support from employers, employees and government
Retirement principle: the idea that at a fixed age, regardless of mental or physical ability,
a person leaves work.
Retirement wage: a person paid by the state to support all older workers (not in labor
Citizen’s wage: a share of the social product over and above any claims they may have
possessed in their capacity as wage earners
Factors leading to retirement
Social forces:
If there are mandatory retirement rules
Pension availability at age 65 eligibility for government income programs begins
at 65 (OAS, GIS)
More positive societal attitudes towards retirement
Personal conditions/factors:
Poor health
Attitude towards work (less attached)
Financial situation
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