The Long and the Short of It: Financial Fragility in America

Much media and policy attention is devoted to enhancing Americans’ long-term financial security. For example, financial planners work hard to help people boost their savings for the long term. Many firms automatically enroll workers in pension plans, sometimes with company matches, to help their employees build up retirement assets. Also, government policy promotes saving for old age, including the important tax deferral provided to qualified retirement plans.Read More

Building A Better Retirement Nest Egg: Lessons From A Middle School Science Experiment

This spring, my son was given the popular “egg drop” science assignment. Several weeks before it was due, he discussed elaborate ideas and hoped that his egg would remain intact for extra credit. Yet, at the same time, the deadline was enough in the distant future that he felt no urgency to begin testing his ideas.Read More

Financially Frail Boomer Women

Baby Boomer women – now in their 50’s and 60’s – are doing worse financially than older women in the 1990s. My new research with Professor Annamaria Lusardi explains why, using national representative survey data from the Health and Retirement Study and the National Financial Capability Study. We track changes in older women’s work plans and debt burdens, along with the links to financial literacy and debt stressors.Read More

A Peek Into America’s Pocketbook Reveals Finances Are Improving Slowly, But Surely

Today’s release of the latest National Financial Capability Study shows that we’re doing better protecting ourselves against financial emergencies than in the past. We’re also doing a better job cutting our high-interest debt than previously. Yet our personal finances, particularly the amount of debt we’re taking on, is still troubling.Read More

Improving Women’s Retirement Security

Older women confront many retirement security challenges. For one thing, women live longer than do men, so their money must stretch farther. For another, many average fewer years in the paid workforce and, when they do work, their average pay is often lower. Additionally, they are more likely to work part-time, for a lower salary. These factors all translate into lower retirement accumulations, smaller retirement payouts, and higher poverty rates in old age, as reported in a recent Society of Actuaries 2014 study “Impact of Retirement Risk on Women.”Read More