Planning for retirement: Save more or retire later? Defended on Thursday, 28 September 2017

In many developed countries collective pension plans are under pressure. As a consequence, individuals face a shift in responsibility for retirement planning from a collective level towards the individuals themselves. The increased importance of individual retirement planning calls for more research that addresses the (psychological) processes underlying individuals’ tendencies to plan for retirement.
In this dissertation we do so by exploring individuals’ drivers to consider two important strategies in planning for an adequate retirement: Save more or retire later.

In the first essay we combine insights from research in economics and psychology to investigate what drives individuals to consider additional savings contributions. In particular, a conceptual model is developed to explain the role of uncertainty regarding one’s savings adequacy therein.

In the second essay we study individuals’ planned retirement age, and explore age-related differences in representing this decision (in terms of which goal is primary to the decision) and the resulting differential impact of a construal level intervention on individuals’ planned retirement age for different age groups.

 In the last essay we take into account both strategies simultaneously and explore the interrelation among individuals’ intentions to consider additional savings and when to retire.

Our findings also have practical implications as they provide more insight in individual differences in retirement planning and give directions for practitioners to customize their pension communications accordingly.


Retirement planning, uncertainty, saving, savings adequacy, planned retirement age, construal level theory, financial decision making

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