This chapter provides the origins of retirement in the United States and the impact of social policies on the choice of retirement age. It contains a variety of alternatives to traditional retirement and explains the reasons why workers choose the alternatives. Professionals faced with the sudden break in their careers, due to mandatory retirement, often find it hard to adjust to retirement. In the United States, the retirement principle served an economy that valued faster, stronger, younger workers. During the Great Recession, beginning in 2008, many workers were laid off. Koenig and colleagues said that long-term unemployment still plagues older workers. Women age 65 and over during these same years increased by 64 percent. The oldest women showed an increase from 3.5 percent to 5.9 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an increase in labor force participation for men age 65 and over in 2024 to 21.7 percent.