Table 2

Plans’ themes, frequency counts, and examples, by outlook

OutlookThemePlan frequency (n)Examples
Aspirational (n=1692)Child-related274 “Hopefully by then I’ll have a baby”; “Taking care of my child”
Employment298 “I hope I’m in the work force”; “Hopefully I will have a career”; “I’ll have a job with benefits”
Educational 255 “Hopefully still in college”; “I’ll have an education”; “I will have graduated from school”
Relationship status211 “Hopefully I’ll be married by then”; “…and possibly be in a relationship”; “Hopefully I am settled down and married”; “Be married, have a good husband”
Living situation/residence188 “Hopefully I still have my apartment”; “I would be owning my own house”; “I think I’ll be living on my own instead of living with family”; “Living with my boyfriend in a house or apartment”
Emotional186 “I hope it will be great”; “[I] wouldn’t be worried as much as I am”; “Living life happy”; “I just hope that it gets better”; “Hopefully it is going in a good direction and I’m in a good place and happy”
Other 163 “I hope to get a dog”; “Maintaining my sobriety”; “I just keep doing things to improve our situation”
Financial117 “I should be financially stable”; “…and providing better for my children”; “…and not living paycheck to paycheck”
Neutral (n=146)Child-related48 “My future is dedicated to my kids and their education”
Educational4 “Not attending school”
Relationship status4 “Maybe I’ll be married, maybe I won’t be”
Living situation/residence 17 “I’ll probably be living in another city”; “Probably won’t be in Oregon anymore”
Emotional4 “I will be okay”
Employment 2 “No longer working for [business name]
Financial1 “Trying to make it through”
Other66 “I don’t see it being that different”; “I am not thinking that far ahead”
Negative (n=26)Child-related9 “Same deal, [the child] will be with me for the rest of my life”
Emotional7 “Probably stressful”
Financial5 “The bills will probably get more expensive as the kids get older”; “Broke”
Other5 “I’m just trying to make it through today”