2024 Symposium:

Retirement Saving, Investment, and Spending:
New Lessons from Behavioral Research

May 2-3, 2024

Jon M. Huntsman Hall, 3730 Walnut St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Our May 2-3, 2024, symposium at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will explore and evaluate lessons from behavioral finance and economics regarding retirement saving, investment, spending, and institutional frameworks conducive to retirement security.  Our first panel highlights  the factors helping and hindering retirement saving behavior, including noncognitive factors as well as mortality beliefs. The second panel offers new lessons from retirement savers’ investment patterns, including gender differences, financial literacy, and retirement plan design. Consumption and spending patterns in retirement are the focus of the third panel, which will touch on cognitive decline and healthcare costs. In a final panel, speakers will discuss policies adopted by plan sponsors and governments applying insights from behavioral finance for retirement policy.

Our symposium is by invitation only and limited to members. Click here for more information about membership.

Conference Agenda

Please find the conference speakers’ bios here.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Welcome and Introductory Remarks: Olivia S. Mitchell, Pension Research Council of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Session I: What Helps & Hinders Retirement Saving?
Moderator: Eugene Han, Capital Group

• Kim Peijnenburg and Gianpaolo Parise, EDHEC Business School: “Noncognitive Determinants of Retirement Saving Behavior” (slides available here)
• Rawley Z. Heimer, Arizona State University: “Subjective Beliefs, Saving, and Spending for Retirement” (slides available here)
Discussant: Abigail Hurwitz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (slides available here)

Alycia Chin, SEC, Heidi Johnson, Financial Health Network, and Brianna Middlewood, Fidelity Investments: “Deepening our Understanding of Savings Automation in Retirement and Non-retirement Contexts” (slides available here)
• Shane Timmons, ESRI, and Féidhlim McGowan, University of Galway: “Does it All Add Up? New Experimental Evidence for ‘Undersum Bias’ as an Impediment to Precautionary Saving” (slides available here)
Discussant: Olivia S. Mitchell, The Wharton School (slides available here)

Keynote: “Solving Problems of Saving and Aging, and of Investing and Spending”
Moderator: Richard Shea, Covington & Burling
Speaker: Peter Fisher, BlackRock (slides available here)

Session II: Investment Behavior of Retirement Savers
Moderator: Sarah Holden, Investment Company Institute

• Michael Haliassos, Goethe University Frankfurt: “Wealth Accumulation: The Role of Others” (slides available here)
• Jonathan Reuter, Boston College: “Plan Design and Participant Behavior in Defined Contribution Retirement Plans: Past, Present, and Future” (slides available here)
Discussant: James Veneruso, SSGA (slides available here)

• Vickie Bajtelsmit, Colorado State University: “The Implications of Gender Differences in Retirement Plan Investment Patterns” (slides available here)
• Gary Mottola, FINRA Investor Education Foundation; Lei Yu and Patricia Boyle, Rush University: “Aging in America: An Examination of Financial and Health Decision Making among Older Adults” (slides available here)
Discussant: John Scott, Pew Charitable Trusts

Evening Dinner and Keynote: “The Importance of Financial Literacy: Evidence from Many Years of Data”
The Inn at Penn
Moderator: Nikolai Roussanov, The Wharton School
Speaker: Annamaria Lusardi, Stanford University (slides available here)

Friday, May 3, 2024

Session III: Spending Challenges
Moderator: David Richardson, TIAA Institute

• Susann Rohwedder and Michael Hurd, RAND: “Insights on Economic Well-being at Older Ages from Analyses of Household Spending” (slides available here)
• Michaela Pagel, Washington University in St. Louis, and Arna Olafsson, Copenhagen Business School: “Patterns of Consumption and Savings around Retirement” (slides available here)
Discussant: David John, AARP

John Beshears, Harvard Business School; James Choi, Yale School of Management; Joel Dickson, Aaron Goodman, and Fiona Greig, Vanguard; and David Laibson, Harvard University: “Does 401(k) Loan Repayment Crowd Out Retirement Saving? Evidence from Administrative Data and Implications for Plan Design” (slides available here)
• Karen Kopecky, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and R. Anton Braun, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies: “Reforming the US Long-Term Care Insurance Market” (slides available here)
Discussant: Sudipto Banerjee, T. Rowe Price (slides available here)

Session IV: Panel: Insights from Behavioral Research for Retirement Policy and Practice
Moderator: Michael Orszag, WTW

• Will Sandbrook, NEST (slides available here)
• Francisco Gomes, London Business School (slides available here)
• Dan Goldstein, Microsoft Research

Closing remarks: Olivia S. Mitchell, The Wharton School