Expected and preferred retirement age in Germany

Erwartetes und gewünschtes Renteneintrittsalter in Deutschland



Over the last 10 years the German pension system has undergone several reforms including the abandonment of early retirement policies and an increase in the statutory retirement age. Consequently, the average retirement age has increased and future retiree cohorts have adjusted the retirement expectations and preferences as to when they would like to retire.


This study was carried out to examine discrepancies between the expected and the preferred retirement age of older workers in Germany and to investigate how these discrepancies differ between groups of older workers.

Material and methods

Based on data from the survey “Employment after retirement”, the expected and preferred retirement ages of 1500 workers aged 55 years and older were compared. Regression analyses were used to investigate the influence of educational level and professional position on deviances between the expected and preferred retirement ages.


On average older workers would like to retire 1.75 years earlier than they actually expect to. The deviance is significantly larger for employees with a lower professional position, lower income and lower educational level.


The discrepancy between expected and preferred retirement ages, in particular for older workers in vulnerable labor market positions, indicates a potential social inequality regarding the choice of retirement timing. This must be acknowledged when considering further reforms of the German pension system.



In den letzten zehn Jahren wurde das deutsche Rentensystem mehrfach reformiert. Unter anderem wurden Frühverrentungsmöglichkeiten abgeschafft und das gesetzliche Renteneintrittsalter angehoben. Daraufhin stieg das durchschnittliche Renteneintrittsalter. Zukünftige Rentner haben ihre Erwartungen und Präferenzen, wann sie in Rente gehen würden, an die Reformen angepasst.


In diesem Beitrag wird die Diskrepanz zwischen erwartetem und gewünschtem Renteneintrittsalter von älteren Arbeitnehmern in Deutschland untersucht. Es wird analysiert, ob sich dabei Hinweise auf soziale Ungleichheiten finden lassen.

Material und Methoden

Basierend auf Daten der Erhebung „Weiterbeschäftigung im Rentenalter“ wurden das erwartete und gewünschte Renteneintrittsalter von 1500 Arbeitnehmern in einem Alter von ≥ 55 Jahren gegenübergestellt. Mit Regressionsanalysen wurde der Einfluss von Bildung und beruflicher Stellung auf die Diskrepanz zwischen erwartetem und gewünschtem Renteneintrittsalter untersucht.


Im Durchschnitt wollen ältere Arbeitnehmer 1,75 Jahre früher in Renten gehen, als sie erwarten. Der Unterschied ist größer für Arbeitnehmer mit niedriger beruflicher Stellung, niedrigem Einkommen und niedriger Bildung.


Dass besonders Arbeitnehmer mit niedriger Bildung und niedriger beruflicher Stellung erwarten, länger zu arbeiten, als sie wollen, deutet auf soziale Ungleichheiten beim Übergang vom Erwerbsleben in den Ruhestand hin. Dies sollte bei zukünftigen Reformen des Rentensystems in Deutschland beachtet werden.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Moritz Hess.

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M. Hess states that there are no conflicts of interest.

The accompanying manuscript does not include studies on humans or animals.

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Hess, M. Expected and preferred retirement age in Germany. Z Gerontol Geriat 51, 98–104 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00391-016-1053-x

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  • Retirement
  • Occupational status
  • Social class
  • Public policy
  • Social inequality


  • Renteneintritt
  • Renteneintrittserwartungen
  • Soziale Schichten
  • Staatliche Regelungen
  • Soziale Ungleichheit