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

This review draws on Street and Desai (2011) to characterise planning as the range of activities people deliberately pursue with the aim of achieving desired outcomes in later life. Planning entails a future goal orientation and typically concerns issues such as finance, housing, and leaving work. 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. 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 for retirement.