Against a global backdrop of population and workforce ageing, successive UK governments have encouraged people to work longer and delay retirement. Debates focus mainly on factors affecting individuals’ decisions on when and how to retire. We argue that a fuller understanding of retirement can be achieved by recognizing the ways in which individuals’ expectations and behaviours reflect a complicated, dynamic set of interactions between domestic environments and gender roles, often established over a long time period, and more temporally proximate factors. Using a qualitative data set, we explore how the timing, nature and meaning of retirement and retirement planning are played out in specific domestic contexts. We conclude that future research and policies surrounding retirement need to: focus on the household, not the individual; consider retirement as an often messy and disrupted process and not a discrete event; and understand that retirement may mean very different things for women and for men.
- domestic context
- temporal factors