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Trialing an online intervention to improve retirement planning goal setting and goal specificity

Authors Earl JK, Burbury B

Received 4 October 2018

Accepted for publication 18 January 2019

Published 21 February 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 419—425


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Joanne Kaa Earl,1 Bianca Burbury2

1Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia; 2School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Purpose: Time perspective (TP) is the term used to describe people’s preferences to focus on the past, present, and the future. Previous research demonstrates a link between TP and retirement planning. The objective of this study was to evaluate a TP-based online training intervention to improve retirement planning emphasizing the accumulation of resources.
Patients and methods: Twenty-two (M=59.41 years) working and fully retired participants were compared to a control group of 18 (M=56.67 years) participants. The intervention included three separate modules delivered online at the rate of one per week over a 3-week testing session. Outcomes focused on retirement goals and goal specificity.
Results: When compared to the control group, subjects in the intervention improved the number of goals relating to the accumulation of health (F(1,35)=10.15, P<0.01, 95% CI [0.28, 2.77]) and emotional resources (F(1,35)=5.16, P<0.05, 95% CI [-0.22, 2.37]). Goals relating to the accumulation of health resources also became more specific within the experimental group when compared to the control group and a significant interaction was recorded (F(1,38)=15.78, P<0.01, 95% CI [0.33, 1.74]). Similar interactions between the control and experimental groups were reported for the accumulation of cognitive resources (F(1,38)=13.15, P<0.01, 95% CI [0.28, 1.96]) and for emotional resources (F(1,38)=7.39, P<0.01, 95% CI [0.00, 1.50]). Qualitative feedback included recommendations to improve engagement by using more activities, providing clearer navigation instructions and avoiding the use of animation.
Conclusion: Applying a TP-based framework to the design of an online training intervention helped improve the accumulation and specificity of emotional and health resources for retirement. The study contains a number of theoretical and practical recommendations informing the design of future retirement planning interventions.

Keywords: resource accumulation, planning behavior, retirement, time perspective, retirement resources inventory, time perspective

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