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28.04.2016 | Original Contribution

Expected and preferred retirement age in Germany

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
Moritz Hess



Over the last 10 years the German pension system has undergone several reforms including the abandonment of early retirement policies and an increase in the statutory retirement age. Consequently, the average retirement age has increased and future retiree cohorts have adjusted the retirement expectations and preferences as to when they would like to retire.


This study was carried out to examine discrepancies between the expected and the preferred retirement age of older workers in Germany and to investigate how these discrepancies differ between groups of older workers.

Material and methods

Based on data from the survey “Employment after retirement”, the expected and preferred retirement ages of 1500 workers aged 55 years and older were compared. Regression analyses were used to investigate the influence of educational level and professional position on deviances between the expected and preferred retirement ages.


On average older workers would like to retire 1.75 years earlier than they actually expect to. The deviance is significantly larger for employees with a lower professional position, lower income and lower educational level.


The discrepancy between expected and preferred retirement ages, in particular for older workers in vulnerable labor market positions, indicates a potential social inequality regarding the choice of retirement timing. This must be acknowledged when considering further reforms of the German pension system.

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