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Financial Planning for Later Life: Subjective Understandings of Catalysts and Constraints


  • Candace L. Kemp
  • Carolyn J. Rosenthal
  • Margaret Denton


This paper examines the conditions under which individuals begin or do not begin making financial plans for their later years. The data are drawn from a sample of mid- and later-life individuals (n=51) who participated in qualitative, life-history interviews. Participants identified three types of circumstances that acted as both catalysts and constraints to their planning: financial, personal and familial. Catalytic financial influences included employer programs and enrolment in retirement courses, while job loss and unforeseen expenses were viewed as constraints. Personal influences such as health and age, as well as familial transitions such as the death of a spouse, divorce, or remarriage served as both catalysts and constraints, depending on the individual. For example, divorce was viewed by some as a constraint, while others viewed it as a catalyst. Participants' locations in the social structure influenced the onset of financial preparation, however, subjective perceptions of life circumstances were also pivotal.

Suggested Citation

  • Candace L. Kemp & Carolyn J. Rosenthal & Margaret Denton, 2004. "Financial Planning for Later Life: Subjective Understandings of Catalysts and Constraints," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 389, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:389

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    Cited by:

    1. Frank T. Denton & Christine H. Feaver & Byron G. Spencer, 2005. "Population Aging in Canada: Software for Exploring the Implications for the Labour Force and the Productive Capacity of the Economy," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 403, McMaster University.
    2. Margaret Denton & Karen Kusch, 2006. "Well-Being Throughout the Senior Years: An Issues Paper on Key Events and Transitions in Later Life," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 411, McMaster University.
    3. Isik U. Zeytinoglu & Margaret Denton, 2006. "Satisfied Workers, Retained Workers: Effects of Work and Work Environment on Homecare Workers' Job Satisfaction, Stress, Physical Health, and Retention," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 412, McMaster University.
    4. Margaret Denton & Linda Boos, 2007. "Gender Inequality in the Wealth of Older Canadians," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 413, McMaster University.

    More about this item


    financial planning; retirement; responsibility; economic security; later life;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies


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