Later life learning (LLL) has a profound beneficial effect on older adults; therefore, it is important to assess older adults' learning needs. A representative random sample of 1,867 soon-to-be older adults (between 45 and 59 years of age) were assessed for their interest in formal learning after their retirement or when they become 60 years old. We examined their preferences for courses and identified the socioeconomic and health-related characteristics related to their planned participation in formal LLL. About 38% of these respondents expressed an interest in formal learning after retirement; the most popular three content courses included computers, interest classes, and physical exercise. Those who did not plan to commit themselves to formal LLL indicated "no interest" and "lack of time" as the most frequently reported reasons for not wanting to participate in LLL. Moreover, we found that LLL was positively related to socioeconomic indicators including education, income, and retirement protection; whereas those who received financial support from adult children or from the government (in the form of welfare) were less likely to express interest in formal LLL. Copyright © 2003 Taylor & Francis Inc.