Working, Resting or Playing?


Some intriguing research from academics at the University of Birmingham, looking at how different career trajectories correlate with starkly different attitudes towards retirement, concerns about money and concerns about loss of identity.

I found the work by a group of academics from University of Birmingham to be absolutely intriguing. It addressed how one’s life in later life (let’s not even call it retirement) is very much affected by what went before. I suppose that we all already knew that a working life characterised by lower-level roles and therefore reduced income would correlate with less financial security in later life and therefore fewer choices.

These researchers have illustrated, simply and beautifully, how the course of one’s early and working life influence your choices after age 60.

Greater privilege and access to networks through early and mid-life correlate top greater financial secutrity and the ability to choose the path of one’s life post 60, whereas a more intermittent career and caring responsibilities (thereby to some extent affecting career trajectory) lead to more later life financial anxiety and fewer available choices.

Something I found particularly interesting was that people who had followed a more “self-employed route” during their core career were less likely to (be able to) adopt self-employment post 60, but were more likely to take up clerical or administrative roles in later life (presumably through financial imperative rather than choice). Whereas, those who had been in secure professional roles during their “core career” were more likely to be able to choose self-employment post 60 (a choice rather than a financial imperative).

Intriguing research, well presented. I recommend it to you.