Do grandchildren influence retirement? The presence of grandchildren and the geographical distance between grandparents and grandchildren at retirement transition

Linda Kridahl, Stockholm University

In line with increased life expectancy and healthier aging, multigenerational ties have become increasingly important in lives of older individuals. In addition, longevity and the trend of early retirement suggest that most retirees will become grandparents. Decrease in childbearing during the last century has resulted in that grandparents tend to have fewer grandchildren making it possible for them to take a larger part in their grandchildren’s life. The relationship with grandchildren is one of the most valuable relationships for grandparents. However, the extent to which grandparents get involved with their grandchildren is primarily driven by the willingness and availability of grandparents, but also the quality of intergenerational ties, health, age and gender of the persons involved. Grandparents in Sweden most likely engage in childcare based on their own desires or as a complement to institutional care, and not necessary as a support at a regular basis because the Swedish’ state provide full-time public childcare for all children from the age of one. Since retirement gives grandparents possibility to spend more time with the grandchildren, and presence of grandchildren have important implications on other life events and life transitions, I argue that the relationship between young grandchildren and grandparents may be a potential factor that associates with the timing of retirement. The study uses Swedish register data to explore whether presence of young grandchildren can be associated with grandparents’ retirement timing. The study also explore whether the geographical distance between grandparents and grandchildren can be linked to retirement timing by using GIS data and spatial analysis. The results will contribute to a deeper understanding of retirement behavior and the meaning of grandparenthood in the retirement transition in addition to labor market attachment.

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Presented in Session 10: Pensions and retirement