This inquiry was designed to provide insights into how Americans are experiencing retirement, and what role language, concepts, and programs can play in attracting this growing population to public service.
Focus group research was conducted among a cross-section of retirees in terms of age, gender, and socioeconomic status in Chicago, San Diego, and Danbury, Connecticut. All the respondents were retired by choice, not because of illness or job loss. In addition to the groups, four in-home, in-depth ethnographic (lifestyle) interviews were conducted – two on the East Coast and two on the West Coast.
Our team used a proprietary research procedure called 360 Probes©, and began by generating dozens of statements regarding retirement. These statements, mostly in the first person, were presented to the retirees who then rated them according to their degree of agreement. This procedure tends to get beyond socially acceptable responses – in this case, “Retirement is great…” – and starts to delve into the more complex and sometimes hidden retirement experiences. Prior to the groups, an expert “communicator” panel also developed experimental language and strategies to be used in the exploration.
For the full report, see the attached PDF.