The Zoomer Report: Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement

It’s said that one of the joys of being a Zoomer is taking pleasure in your grandchildren, but an English research study begs to differ.

A University of Greenwich team found that an active social life, being married and having a partner who is also retired all make a huge difference in Zoomers’ enjoyment of life, but having children or grandchildren matters little.

No one denies that grandchildren are a source of pride, but according to the researchers, there are trade-offs. They say having children and grandchildren imparts a sense of purpose and meaning, but the frequent commitment for child care can interfere with the sense of freedom and autonomy that is at the heart of a positive retirement.

Study participants answered questions about family, friends and their life in retirement. The researchers found no difference in life satisfaction between retirees who have children and grandchildren and those who don’t.

But a strong social network tended to have a major positive effect on their enjoyment of life. So did having a spouse or long-term partner who was also retired. Single Zoomers reported lower levels of life satisfaction . And those whose partner was still working enjoyed their life less than those who have been joined in retirement by their spouse.

Bottom line: The researchers say older adults are very interested in their grandchildren and want them to succeed, but really, but they derive most of their happiness and psychological well-being from their peers.

Photo © Michael DeLeon


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About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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