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