My friends work just did this recently for the main reason of moving along higher paid employees, those that have been at their job for 30+ years.It's mostly downsizing, not retirement packages. Note what Ian said... he waited for a re-structuring and likely raised his hand in interest. There is no guarantee these things come. Have to be in the right place at the right time. Companies find that those who are around 55 love to take downsizing packages, so they are the easy employees to pick and not have unhappy disgruntled former employees, and those with debt burdens. Also gets rid of higher paid employees too.