Cognitive ability. The people in the study who had higher levels of what’s known as fluid cognitive function — the ability to recall things, learn fast and think on one’s feet — are much more likely to work either full or part time past age 70.
Extroversion. Extroverts, who naturally seek out other people and situations outside of themselves, tend to continue doing some type of work after 65, the study found. Even after 70, this group is the most likely to still be working full time. Extroversion also pulls some older people out of retirement, according to the study.
Conscientiousness. People with this personality trait often work full time past age 62, but it has less of an effect after 65. Perhaps the reason is that conscientious people are better prepared financially to retire, according to another study.
Agreeableness. People who are amenable and get along with their co-workers are more likely to want to keep working after 65, the study found.
Neuroticism and openness to new experiences. These two traits, which round out the "big five," have little effect on retirement decisions, the researchers found.


Older workers’ decisions to keep working full time, shift to part time or stop working altogether  partly depend on their personality, according to a recent study.

A new blog post from the Center for Retirement Research examines recent research from the RAND Corp. that found that the paths older workers choose are influenced by their personality and by how well they’re able to hold the line against the natural cognitive decline that accompanies aging.

“Only about a third of the older people who are working full-time will go straight into retirement. Most take zigzag paths,” writes Kim Blanton in the CRR’s Squared Away Blog. “These paths include gradually reducing their hours, occasional consulting, or finding a new job or an Uber stint that is only part time. Other people ‘unretire,’ meaning that they retire temporarily from a full-time job only to decide to return to work for a while.”

To determine why this is, researchers at RAND in the United States and a think tank in the Netherlands followed older Americans’ work and retirement decisions over 14 years through a survey, which also administered a personality and a cognition test.

Through this study, they uncovered interesting connections between retirement and cognitive acuity and, separately, and a variety of personality traits.

“While you’re looking at your finances, it would also be smart to look beyond money and ask yourself what else might weigh into whether or not you’re ready to retire,” Blanton writes in the blog post.

Check out the gallery to see how personality traits may affect one’s path to retirement.

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