Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2009
This paper examines the incomes of men retiring before age 65, using FES data for years 1970–77. The findings are that such men generally rely on state benefits for most of their income. In particular, it seems that many of the early retired are receiving benefits related to ill-health which suggests that early retirement decisions are attributable more to poor health than to any voluntary desire for increased leisure by those who can afford not to work. It is found that the incomes of the early retired improved over the 1970s relative to average eararnings, but this may be due to a rise in levels of state benefit rather than private sources of income. Incomes of this group have generally been lower than for men over age 65. There is, however, a small number of early retired men with very high incomes and extensive private support, but this is only about ten per cent of the group.