I came across a WSJ write-up on the results of a survey regarding retirement. In particular, the respondents were asked to come up with the words that come to mind when they think of how the feel when they hear the word retirement. Apparently, there wasn’t a list provided to survey-takers; rather, the answers were left open-ended.
The results that the article shared were interesting in that the top 10 single terms that came out of the research were a mix of both positive and negative sentiment. However, it skewed negative.
Positive terms included words such as: “excited”, “happy”, and “good”. However, frequent negative terms included those such as “old”, “scared”, and “nervous”. Additionally, when looking at results by age, it appeared that younger people tended to describe retirement in more negative terms than did older people.
So, what do you think of notion that retirement evokes negative feelings in people?
Personally, my first reaction was to be surprised by this. Admittedly, that’s because my initial thoughts that come to mind for retirement are probably more positive than anything else. My initial thought, if I had to summarize in one word, is “security”.
Maybe that’s because it’s what I value for retirement: security. Or, perhaps I’m not anxious enough to express something negative. I’m certainly not thinking of massive excitement. It’s more that I view future retirement from a perspective of “positive practicality”.
But it says something about where people are when it comes to retirement, and their awareness of the situation. Even if it’s deep down thoughts at work here, it seems like there is some actual awareness that people have about retirement. It can see how some might find it to be scary, given the reality that we will not work forever – despite how many people will erroneously rationalize that part.
The part about younger people being more negative is also interesting to me. The article mentioned how one individual interpreted this along the lines of older people having different perspective and priorities than younger folks. While at some level that’s probably true, I wonder if these difference are more due to the reality that younger people are less likely to have pension options that those of an older generation. There is no “system” to take care of many folks who are earlier in their career at the moment.
Anyway, it’s food for thought. Clearly, people see their future retirement (and chances to do so) with different vantage points and ultimately different emotions. What about you?
My Questions for You
What word comes to mind when you hear the term “retirement”?
Do the results of that survey surprise you?
Why do you think there is that distinction between younger and older perspectives?