Financial well-being and quality of life in later years.
The programme of research had two main aims: (1) to examine the relationships between
objective financial status, subjective financial well-being, psychological well-being and
physical health in later life, and (2) to examine the extent to which people aged 40 years
and over are able and willing to prepare for their financial well-being in old age.
These aims were addressed during two separate research phases. Phase 1 consisted of two
studies (1) an in-depth interview study and (2) a postal survey. Phase 2 comprised an indepth
The programme of research was conducted in the West of Scotland. Both Phase 1 and
Phase 2 interview studies were restricted to interviewees residing in Renfrew district. The
Phase 1 postal survey covered a more extensive geographical area, encompassing three
additional local government districts (Argyll and Bute, Dumbarton & Inverclyde).
Respondents were randomly selected from the Argyll and Clyde Health Board
Community Health Index (CHI). Additional interviewees for the Phase 1 interview study
were obtained through Renfrewshire Elderly Fora. Eighty-four individuals were
interviewed in Phase 1 and a further 279 respondents completed postal questionnaires.
Eighty-two interviewees participated during Phase 2.
Phase 1 found that social comparison processes largely mediate the relationship between
objective and subjective financial well-being. Although subjective financial well-being
was related to psychological well-being, objective financial status was not independently
associated with psychological health. Both objective and subjective financial well-being
were positively related to physical health. Phase 2 found that most respondents placed
high importance on adequate financial resources and the need to plan for retirement.
However, great diversity in planning behaviour was observed. Few respondents had
considered provision for long-term care.
This research has demonstrated the association between financial well-being and
psychological and physical health. Further research is needed to decipher the complex
causal pathways through which financial well-being influences both the quality and
quantity of life. It is strongly advocated that future studies include broader more
comprehensive measures of financial well-being.