Entrepreneurs’ retirement process: planning, decision making, transition, and adjustment to life in retirement – ENTREPRENEUR

Entrepreneurs’ retirement process: planning, decision making, transition, and adjustment to life in retirement – ENTREPRENEUR


In this research project, we will study the retirement process entrepreneurs and the underlying personal, organizational and societal factors that are associated with the decision to transfer into retirement in micro and small-sized enterprises. We will also explore adjustment to life in retirement among entrepreneurs. The retirement process comprises retirement plans, decision making, and transition and adjustment to life in retirement. Ageing entrepreneurs are important employers.

Due to the nature of running and operating an independent business, the mechanisms underlying entrepreneurs’ retirement processes, are likely to differ from those of wage earners. The company is often very much present in entrepreneur’s retirement process. Once the entrepreneur starts to plan his or her retirement and exit from working life, the entrepreneur is faced with a decision about the future of the company. The alternatives include selling the business, transferring it to next-of-kin, or closing the business down. These decisions have great impact on the company and the future employment it may offer to the employees.

Knowledge of entrepreneurs’ retirement processes is needed, not only to help them transition and adjust to life in retirement, but also to secure successful transfer of business and preservation of future jobs. To support retiring entrepreneurs, information will be produced concerning 1) the timing of the retirement transition, 2) the drivers behind retirement decisions and 3) factors promoting adjustment to life in retirement.


During the project, we will collect a quantitative follow-up data among entrepreneurs who are transitioning into retirement. The baseline data collection will take place in 2017-2018, with yearly follow-ups in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Entrepreneurs will be asked about their health, work, social environment, the company, and retirement plans. In addition, the data will be completed with various register data, including retirement, in-patient hospital care, mortality, and company financial data. We will collect qualitative data by asking ageing entrepreneurs to write narratives regarding the role of family and social network in their retirement process.

The longitudinal Helsinki Birth Cohort Study will be used to explore adjustment to retirement among ageing entrepreneurs. The HBCS participants were born between 1934-1944 in Helsinki region (n=13 345).


Academy of Finland (2016-2021)

Research Group


  • Federation of Finnish Entrepreneurs
  • Johan Eriksson, University of Helsinki
  • Teemu Kautonen, Aalto University
  • Mo Wang, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, US
  • Paul Spector, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, US
  • Yuijie Zhan, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
  • Marleen Damman, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute
  • OPTIMAL-project