The Alignment of Household Preferences and Financial Decisions Leading up to Retirement

We report on research that links survey and administrative data to investigate how within-couple differences in preferences and financial decision-making abilities affect household finances. We study whether within-household differences in preferences or financial decision-making abilities influence household choices and, thus,…

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Saving Regret in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, saving regret — defined as the wish to have saved more and spent less earlier in life — was reported by 58% of the older U.S. population. And, the reports were strongly related to the…

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Equity Implications of the Rising Full Retirement Age and Social Security Communications: An Analysis of Past and Future Disparities in the Economic Security of Retirees

The Social Security Amendments of 1983 raised the Full Retirement Age (FRA), the age at which claimants receive an unreduced monthly benefit, from 65 to 67. However, this change was set to be gradually implemented, with the first increase from…

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The Enduring Impacts of COVID-19 on Americans’ Economic and Retirement Security

This project builds on our previous work by using newly collected data to examine how Americans’ economic and retirement security have changed during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis will examine (1) how the long duration…

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Who Benefits from Retirement Saving Incentives in the U.S.? Evidence on Racial Gaps in Retirement Wealth Accumulation

Retirement saving is heavily subsidized in the U.S. Employers and the federal government devote a combined $300 billion annually to encourage contributions to defined contribution (DC) schemes. This institutional design rewards those who can, and do, save more for retirement.…

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Explanations for the Decline in Spending at Older Ages

We use new data from the 2019 wave of the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey to help interpret the observed decline in spending as individuals age. At one extreme, forward-looking individuals optimally chose the decline; at the other, myopic individuals…

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Auto-Enrollment Retirement Plans in OregonSaves

Oregon recently launched an automatic-enrollment retirement savings program for private sector workers lacking access to other workplace retirement plans. We analyze participation choices, account balances, and inflow/outflow data using administrative records between August 2018 and April 2020. Within the small-…

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Heterogeneity in Household Spending and Well-being Around Retirement

We study heterogeneity in spending patterns around the time of retirement. Using rich consumption data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and exploiting within-household spending variation, we systematically classify households into groups characterized by differences in consumption transitions at…

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The Early Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Americans’ Economic Security

The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous effects on the U.S. economy and may have had serious negative repercussions for many Americans’ financial stability. We use longitudinal survey data from a nationally representative internet panel, the Understanding America Study, to examine…

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