Many studies specify human mortality patterns parametrically, with a parameter change affecting mortality rates at different ages simultaneously. Motivated by the stylized fact that a mortality decline affects primarily younger people in the early phase of mortality transition but mainly older people in the later phase, we study how a mortality change at an arbitrary age affects optimal retirement age. Using the Volterra derivative for a functional, we show that mortality reductions at older ages delay retirement unambiguously, but that mortality reductions at younger ages may lead to earlier retirement due to a substantial increase in the individual’s expected lifetime human wealth.