Reflexive Planning for Later Life
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Informed by Giddens' (1991) concept of reflexive life planning and the notion of later life as a time of increasing social and financial risk, this research explores the idea of reflexive planning for later life. We utilize a conceptual model that incorporates three types of planning for later life: public protection, self-insurance, and self-protection. Drawing on qualitative, life-history data from a study of 51 mid-life and older Canadians, we examined whether individuals recognized the risks associated with later life, and if so, how far these recognitions entered into the preparations people made for their futures. We also considered how social circumstances facilitate and/or constrain an individual's planning for later life. Overall, most participants recognized risks and engaged in reflexive planning. On the other hand, there was a small group of non-planners, or day-by-dayers who were getting by with little preparation. We suggest that what distinguishes these groups is that the former have a future time perspective, which is associated with certain socio-demographic characteristics, including high household incomes.
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