Retirement and Risk: The Individualisation of Retirement Experiences

Vickerstaff, Sarah and Cox, Jennie (2005) Retirement and Risk: The Individualisation of Retirement Experiences. Sociological Review, 53 (1). pp. 77-95. ISSN 0038-0261 . (Full text available)

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Abstract

A climate of uncertainty and risk exists in the field of retirement and pensions. Many employers have modified their pension schemes shifting the financial risk onto employees. Many individuals with private pensions have watched the value of their savings diminish. Added to this, the trend toward early retirement before state pension age has destabilised the traditional life course notion of a fixed retirement age, (especially for men). As a result, the concept of retirement itself has become more unpredictable and difficult to define. In this article we examine the extent of the individualisation of retirement experiences by reference to a study of retirement transitions in two organisations. The research investigated the influences on people's retirement decisions and the extent to which they experienced choice and control over how and when they retired. It is possible to identify a pattern of individualisation in contrast to its opposite of a mass transition into retirement, collectively understood and embedded in formal, institutionalised arrangements. However, underlying this fragmentation of experience there are clear structural patterns. The form that structured individualisation took here, was less to increase the majority of people's range of alternatives and choices over when and how to retire and more to enlarge the range of risks they had to cope with.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: retirement, employers practice, retirement
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Social Policy
Depositing User: Samantha Osborne
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:13
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 13:58
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/416 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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