Retirement Planning: Feeling Closer and Doing More for Our Future-selves

Project: Research

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In Hong Kong (HK), the proportion of older adults aged 65 years and above will increase from 17.6% in 2019 to 30% in 2038 (Census & Statistics Department, 2019). Therefore, older adults’ demand for financial and medical resources will almost double in the next two decades. In the absence of universal pension schemes in HK, retirees need to maintain their monetary and personal resources to keep pace with the escalating costs of their extended longevity. With the increase in life expectancy, some individuals are aware that retirement preparation must be done, but very few of them actually participate in it. A recent longitudinal study on HK Chinese retirees found that 44.4% of Chinese pre-retirees did not make extra savings for their retirement, even when they were due to retire in 6 months’ time (Yeung & Zhou, 2017). Unprepared pre-retirees are at a greater risk of maladjustment and poorer psychosocial wellbeing compared with those who are prepared. These trends reveal that many Hong Kongers will find themselves poor for the first time in their life in their old age. The proposed project thus aims at finding ways to motivate younger (18-39 years) and middle-aged (40-64 years) HK Chinese workers to plan for their retirement.This project will consist of three parts. Part I is an experimental study that aims to investigate the effect of exposure to an aged future-self on savings allocation for retirement. Part II is a 5-day diary study that aims to make use of the 5-day writing task to prolong the effect of the future selfcontinuity manipulated in Part I. The differences in retirement savings and other preparatory activities among participants with and without the writing task will be assessed two weeks after the experimental session. Part III assesses the 6-month effect of exposure to future-self on retirement preparation in various domains. This project is expected to advance the scientific understanding of retirement planning in three aspects. First, it extends the current work on preparation for retirement to non-financial domains, such as psychological and social planning. Second, it improves the experimental procedures by reducing potential negative reactions that may arise from viewing the aged future-self. Third, this project clarifies the experimental effect of a 5-day writing task on prolonging the impact of future self-continuity concerning retirement preparation over a short- and medium-period (2 weeks and 6 months, respectively).


Project number9043466
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/23 → …