Future of Retirement in a World of Rising Life Expectancies Study
In 2005, Age Wave collaborated with HSBC to create the first-ever comprehensive study on global attitudes toward aging and retirement. This landmark work investigated the issues that really matter to people: their hopes, dreams, priorities, aspirations, and fears for later life. It also examined the ways people of different generations across the globe prepare for later life. The study included interviews with over 11,000 adults, spanning four continents and ten countries. Key insights included:
- A new vision of later life. In the past, people thought of the onset of “old age” as being marked by an event like a 65th birthday, retiring, or collecting a pension. “Old age” has a much more personal and individualistic definition now: a 60-year-old may be “old” while an 85-year-old individual remains youthful.
- To work, or not to work? Surprisingly, people in more affluent societies want to carry on working in retirement, even though they may have less financial necessity to do so. Meanwhile, those in less affluent countries are more likely to want to give up work when they retire.
- Global rejection of a mandatory retirement age. The study revealed a resounding global rejection of age-based restrictions on working.
- Preparation for later years. When it does happen, preparation for retirement is largely unsophisticated, with people preferring to speak to friends rather than seeking professional advice.
- The role of the family is changing. Throughout the developing world the role of the family is changing, along with other social structures, as more people move from rural to urban areas.
Moreover, the study revealed many important differences in how people in different countries and regions view old age and retirement. For example:
- Americans view their later years as a time for opportunity, new careers, and spiritual fulfillment, but are less focused on family or health than other countries.
- The British view later life as a time of self-sufficiency, independence, and personal responsibility.
- Brazilians view later life as a time for slowing down, relaxing, and spending time with their families, relatives, and friends.
- In China, younger generations view retirement as an opportunity for a new life and continued careers, while older generations want to stop working and relax.
- Indians view later life as a time to live with and be cared for by their families.
The highly successful 2005 Future of Retirement in a World of Rising Life Expectancies Study was followed in 2006 by an even more comprehensive study conducted by Age Wave in collaboration with HSBC and the Oxford Institute of Ageing: The HSBC Future of Retirement: What the World Wants Study.