How people view longevity is impacting approaches to work, as well as the trajectory of planning for the future. New research from Transamerica and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab suggests “people may need help navigating a life course that is very different today from what their parents and grandparents experienced.”
The purpose of Longevity as Opportunity – New Conversations on Work, Finances, and Well-Being is to better understand the needs, goals, and expectations across generations.
Phil Eckman, president of workplace solutions, Transamerica, says in a statement, “What our data shows, and what we are seeing in the marketplace across generations, is that the way we approach our lives and the way we work is changing. People want flexibility and choice in all parts of their life, both at work and home.”
Eckman continues, “Employees are eager to live their best lives. And employers have a powerful opportunity in this new world of work to establish values that focus on the whole person and invest in solutions that support employees’ mental, physical, and financial health.”
Views on Work
According to findings, the reasons people prioritize work change as they age – noting employers who understand workers’ motivations at different points in their lives may have more success recruiting and retaining top talent.
Younger adults (20 to 39) are “working more jobs, having more careers, and anticipating a complex, multi-part working life.”
Midlife workers (40 to 59) are “the most likely to prioritize the flexibility of being able to work from home (27.3%) and also most likely to prioritize earning a high salary (61.6%).
Older adults (60 to 79) – still in the workforce – say financial benefits are top priorities – followed by performing work for which they feel passionate about. Two-thirds of people in the older adult age group say retirement is very or extremely important.
However, 58% of retirees say their retirements came earlier than expected – suggesting unforeseen events like illness or changes in the workplace environment can prompt older adults to leave the workforce.
Finances and Well-Being
Saving enough money to afford retirement is at least a “somewhat” important priority for most people (92.1%), according to the white paper.
Regarding well-being, the research finds, “Across life stages, people understand the importance of making healthy choices to ensure both their present and future well-being. Many respondents believed that their current health, their lifestyle, and their exercise and nutrition habits would very much have an effect on how long they would live.”
“While Americans are generally optimistic about their future, they may not fully appreciate how much their financial needs, priorities, and life circumstances will change over time,” says Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D., director, MIT AgeLab, during the announcement of the survey results.
“More than ever, planning for longevity means understanding what matters most at each stage of adulthood, finding balance, and supporting priorities with the behaviors and actions that lead to a better future.”
The research concludes, “Financial professionals can strengthen relationships with clients by helping them to anticipate their life trajectories.”
The white paper findings are the result of feedback from a dozen focus groups and a national survey of 1,200 people – ranging in age from 20 to 79.