What matters most? The role of late fatherhood and grandfatherhood on retirement timing in Sweden
Across Western countries, men’s retirement decisions are increasingly being linked to their family circumstances. At the same time, postponed childbearing and increasing family complexity, such as separations and repartnering, have led to greater possibilities for men to have children later in life and to have young children and young grandchildren during the same period of their life. This study investigates whether having children later in life and potentially young grandchildren at the same time, is associated with retirement timing in Sweden among men born 1940-1956. Using role theory, the study first examines the retirement timing of men who have children after age 45 compared to men who have children earlier in life and childless men. Thereafter, it examines the retirement timing among men who have either young children (aged 0-3) or young grandchildren (aged 0-3) or both, compared to other fathers/grandfathers and childless men. Event-history analyses based on full-population register data show that men who had a child after age 45 (except ages 66-70) retire later compared with men who only had children at age 45 or earlier. The analyses also reveal that it is especially men with young children (without young grandchildren) who retire latest. Men with young children and grandchildren retire instead earliest. Concluding, late fatherhood and, in particular, having young children, important for men’s retirement timing as it leads to postponed retirement, possibly due to the traditional provider role among fathers, whereas having both young children and young grandchildren early-set retirement instead, potentially due to role overload.