Money and later life

Authored by: Debora Price , Lynne Livsey

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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This chapter examines how the cultural turn in gerontology informs our understanding of finances in later life. Globally, but especially in the Global North and transition economies, there is growing interest in the sociologies of consumption and identity as ways of understanding social behaviour, and these are illuminating our understanding of money and money practices across the life course. In post-industrial economies, we are seeing a gradual shift in policy and research focus from the financial interactions of older people with the state and the family, to the income, wealth and spending of older people in the marketplace, whether for living expenses, consumption and leisure, or the costs of health and long term care (Cutler 2005). Simultaneously, as the role of the global financial sector has grown and neo-liberal economic theories of competition have entered the politics of pensions, health, housing and social care, individuals’ wealth and income in later life is increasingly associated with their participation throughout the life course as consumers in financial markets, through private and occupational pension schemes, home ownership, savings, debt, insurance, annuities and/or equity release.

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