Retirement Transitions among Baby Boomers: Findings from an Online Qualitative Study

M. Rebecca Genoe, Toni Liechty, Hannah R. Marston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Canadian baby boomers began turning 65 - traditional retirement age - in 2011. How this generation perceives and experiences retirement may differ from preceding generations. In this online, grounded-theory study, 25 baby boomers who were approaching retirement or had recently retired participated in a multi-author blog about their retirement experiences and processes. We collected additional data via subsequent focus groups and participant interviews. Participants retired in several ways, including ceasing work, adopting casual or part-time work, and adopting new types of work. Findings highlighted three phases of the retirement transition: pre-retirement, characterized by both apprehension about retirement and idealization of the perfect retirement; the initial transition, which participants compared to an extended vacation, but in which they also struggled to adjust to increased amounts of free time; and mid-transition, when participants learned to balance structure and flexibility. Findings suggest that despite retirement transition challenges, many people have positive experiences with this transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-463
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Journal on Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • aging
  • baby boomers
  • grounded-theory
  • online data collection
  • retirement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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