Change in retirement plans among midlife couples during an economic recession

Jeremy B. Yorgason, Dikla Segel-Karpas, Brandan E. Wheeler, Jerevie Malig Canlas, Jamie Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Although research has investigated financial planning for retirement, less is known about how adults plan their retirement activities. Even less is known about couples' congruence and incongruence in retirement activities planning. The authors examined husband and wife reports of retirement plans across a 5-year period that involved a U.S. economic recession. Method: Using data from 335 midlife couples who participated in the Flourishing Families project, retirement plans were grouped into five categories - family, leisure, volunteer, work, and uncertain. We estimated probit dyadic structural equation models to explore longitudinal predictors of retirement plans. Results: Results indicated mean differences in retirement plans between husbands and wives, and also across time that might have been influenced by surrounding economics. Wife poor health, number of children, both spouses working, and financial assets were linked with the likelihood of reporting certainty in retirement plans. Greater retirement uncertainty was predicted by lower marital quality, higher financial adjustments, lower education, and ethnic diversity. Conclusion: Husband and wife reports of retirement plans are not always congruent, and plans in retirement can be affected by large scale changes in the U.S. economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-836
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • Leisure
  • Marriage
  • Retirement planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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