Promoting Later Planned Retirement: The Differential Impact of Construal Level Interventions for Younger and Older Individuals
36 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2014
Date Written: June 30, 2013
Individuals’ planned retirement age is affected by a trade-off between financial costs (a feasibility oriented consideration) and the number of years in retirement (a desirability oriented consideration). Previous research shows that construal level interventions (i.e., activating a global vs. local mindset with individuals) affect the relative importance of these two types of decision aspects such that primary considerations become more important under a global mindset compared to secondary considerations. In this research we predict that this results in an age-related reversal of the effect of a construal level induced global mindset on planned retirement age. The reason is that as individuals’ chronic temporal distance to retirement decreases (i.e., they become older) their primary retirement goals are likely to change. Younger individuals are temporally distant from retirement and primarily driven by desirability goals, while older individuals are temporally close to retirement and driven by feasibility goals. Therefore, since a global construal level intervention increases the impact of individuals’ primary goals, we predict that such an intervention decreases planned retirement age for the younger age group but increases it for the older age group. Results from two online surveys confirm this predicted decision process. They show first that indeed younger individuals are more likely than older individuals to plan for a retirement age that they cannot afford. Second, the results demonstrate that a construal level intervention-induced global mindset increases the impact of desirability considerations on planned retirement age for younger individuals (and lowers planned retirement age), but that it increases the impact of feasibility considerations for older individuals (and increases planned retirement age). Jointly, these findings underline the importance of taking into account both individuals’ chronic and situationally-induced mental construals of the planned retirement decision when designing policy communications to promote individuals’ retirement at a later age.
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