Purpose – The purpose of this overview is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of retirement, noting five key issues and directions for future research which are addressed collectively in the compilation of papers that follow: the changing nature of retirement; the need for an interdisciplinary perspective on retirement; the need to look at both individual and organizational perspectives; international variations in contexts and processes; and the need for a broad methodological perspective. The authors then outline and summarize the seven studies included in this special issue, as well as acknowledge those who were instrumental in bringing this special issue to fruition. Design/methodology/approach – The International Journal of Manpower's usual double blind review process was used to select the seven papers included in this special issue. The papers themselves represent a wide variety of designs, methodologies, and analytic strategies used to study retirement. In addition, a wide variety of disciplinary approaches and levels of analyses and perspectives are employed across the seven studies. Findings – The findings of the studies included in this special issue touch on retirement planning and decision making, as well as employer perspectives on the global aging workforce. Practical implications – Each article includes practical implications with regard to retirement for the country and/or constituents examined in the study. Originality/value – Taken as a collective, the papers in this special issue help to propel forward in significant ways the study of retirement from an international and interdisciplinary perspective.