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

  • M. Rebecca Genoe (a1), Toni Liechty (a2) and Hannah R. Marston (a3)


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.

En 2011, les baby-boomers canadiens ont commencé à franchir la barre des 65 ans, ou l’âge traditionnel de la retraite. Il est possible que la perception et l’expérience de la retraite s’avèrent différentes dans cette génération, comparativement aux générations précédentes. Le but de cet article est d’explorer les tendances dans la transition vers la retraite de baby-boomers en Saskatchewan, en lien avec les phases qu’ils ont traversées au cours de cette transition. Dans cette étude effectuée en ligne selon un modèle de théorie ancrée, 25 baby-boomers approchant de la retraite ou récemment retraités ont participé à un blogue multi-auteurs où ils ont partagé leurs expériences et les processus liés à leur retraite. Des données additionnelles ont été collectées dans le cadre d’entrevues et de groupes de discussion réunissant les participants après la fin de leur participation au blogue. Les participants ont adopté différents modèles dans leur processus de retraite, certains arrêtant de travailler, d’autres poursuivant leurs activités professionnelles dans le cadre de travaux occasionnels ou à temps partiel, ou en effectuant d’autres types de travaux. Les résultats ont mis en évidence 3 phases dans la transition vers la retraite : la préretraite, caractérisée à la fois par certaines craintes liées à la retraite et par l’idéalisation de la retraite parfaite, suivie de la transition initiale, au cours de laquelle les participants ont comparé la retraite à des vacances prolongées, au cours desquelles ils ont peiné à s’adapter à l’augmentation de leur temps libre, pour enfin arriver à une transition de moyen terme où ils ont appris à équilibrer structure et flexibilité. Les résultats suggèrent que bien que la transition vers la retraite présente plusieurs défis, plusieurs personnes rapportent des visions et des expériences positives de cette transition.


Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Rebecca Genoe, Ph.D. Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies University of Regina 3737 Wascana Parkway Regina, SK, S4S 0A2 <>


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Funding: This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.



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

  • M. Rebecca Genoe (a1), Toni Liechty (a2) and Hannah R. Marston (a3)


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