With those 35 and older, the key events we used were largely aimed at getting three different age groups: Recently retired (60-75), Set a retirement date in the next five years (50-64); and Have a retirement plan (35-55). This reflected the focus on retirement in the current research among age 35+. To give a broader sense of key events that might prod people to learn about financial matters, however, we asked some additional questions about their recent experiences. While we asked about the past five years, we have scaled responses back to two years to improve comparability with the preceding exhibit.
% Experienced Key Event Past 2 years: Age 35+
Death in family
Laid off / Fired
Buy new home
Kids leave home
Pay off mortgage
35-49 yrs 50-64 yrs 65+ yrs
Birth of a child
# sources used
5.00 4.50 4.00 3.50 3.00 2.50 2.00 1.50 1.00 0.50 0.00
INFORMATION SOURCES USED
One of the critical issues in learning about financial information is the sources of information that people rely on to make financial decisions. Those over 35 use far fewer sources of information than the 20-34 age group and the number of sources falls off with age.
Number of Information Sources Used by Age
The sources of information that are used change with age. Under 35’s make far more use of the internet as a source of financial information. They also talk widely to family, friends and co- workers. Under-35’s are more peer-oriented seeking out the views of like-minded people in blogs and forums, but even more to the point, they make extensive use of social media. With 5 out of 6 using Facebook, it is a critical part of how they gather opinions from their peers. And the under-35’s are skeptics too, comparing a range of sources and inferring the truth by finding the common ground among different sources. As part of their internet usage strategy, under-35’s typically start seeking information using a search engine while older internet users go right to their favourite websites.