How women are “taking the lead” in retirement decisions

Within a story about the large number of people who wish to move when they retire, a sociologist suggests that a shift in retirement has taken place: while men have often decided where a couple might go, women are now playing a more active role in deciding where couples should go:

“Retirement used to be a male transition that wives really just accommodated,” says Phyllis Moen, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. “Now women are taking the lead and planning what is going to come next. There’s a ‘his’ and a ‘her’ view of things.”

The “her” view catches many men by surprise. Cheryl Rampage, a clinical psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, recalls a man who wanted to retire to Palm Springs, Calif., and play golf. The wife wanted to stay in Chicago. “He took it as a huge slap in the face,” Ms. Rampage recalls. “He had developed this dream in his head without being in a conversation.” After some therapy, the couple agreed to move to a city they both liked.

I would be interested to hear a longer explanation about why this shift has taken place: feminism? More participation of women in the labor force? Changes in what retired people or people near retirement expect to experience in retirement?

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