What Are the Structural Barriers to Planning for Later Life? A Scoping Review of the Literature

Preston, Claire and Drydakis, Nick and Hughes, Suzanne and Forwood, Suzanna E. and Meads, Catherine (2019) What Are the Structural Barriers to Planning for Later Life? A Scoping Review of the Literature. Social Inclusion, 7 (3). pp. 17-26. ISSN 2183-2803

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i3.1883


The rollback of the welfare state in countries such as the UK, coupled with population ageing, have contributed to a situation in which responsibility for older people’s wellbeing is placed more heavily on the individual. This is exemplified in the notion in popular and policy circles that individuals should plan for later life, particularly financially, and a corresponding concern that they are not doing so sufficiently. This scoping review aimed to identify the structural factors which inhibit people from engaging in planning for later life. For the purposes of this review, we characterised planning as the range of activities people deliberately pursue with the aim of achieving desired outcomes in later life. This entails a future, as opposed to shorter-term goal orientation. In study selection, we focused on planning at mid-life (age 40-60). Systematic and snowball searching identified 2,317 studies, of which 36 were included in the final qualitative synthesis. The review found that limited financial resources were a key barrier to planning. Related factors included: living in rented accommodation, informal caring, and working part-time. A lack of support from employers, industry, regulators and landlords was also found to inhibit planning. The findings suggest that certain sections of society are effectively excluded from planning. This is particularly problematic if popular and policy discourse comes to blame individuals for failing to plan. The review also provides a critical perspective on planning, highlighting a tendency in the literature towards individualistic and productivist interpretations of the concept.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: planning, mid-life, later-life, scoping review, retirement, barriers
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Faculty of Business & Law
Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 13:47
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:54
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704286

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