News from MRDRC researchers: Winter 2021

Journal publications

JAMA Internal Medicine published Lauren Nicholas, Ken Langa, Julie Bynum, and Joanne Hsu’s article, “Financial Presentation of Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias,” online in November. The work is based on Nicholas and Hsu’s 2018 MRRC project, “Adverse Financial Events Before & After Dementia Diagnosis: Understanding the Timing and Need for Assistance Managing Money Among Households Impacted by Dementia” (UM18-02; the working paper has yet to be posted due to medical journal constraints). The study matches Medicare diagnostic codes related to dementia with credit report data for 81,364 Medicare beneficiaries living in single-person households. The authors find “that those with ADRD were more likely to miss bill payments up to six years prior to diagnosis and started to develop subprime credit scores 2.5 years prior to diagnosis compared with those never diagnosed. These negative financial outcomes persisted after ADRD diagnosis, accounted for 10% to 15% of missed payments in our sample, and were more prevalent in census tracts with less college education.”

Hsu and Nicholas wrote a blog post on the findings for the Federal Reserve.

Media mentions

Nicholas and Hsu’s work understandably has garnered media attention, with 83 news stories at the time of writing. The Washington Post’s wellness section featured an interview with Nicholas in November. In December, Nicholas talked to CNN, which did an overview of the research. Coverage and interviews have also appeared in The Sacramento Bee, United Press International,, and The Independent, among others.

The Motley Fool used María Prados and Arie Kapteyn’s 2019 working paper, “Subjective Expectations, Social Security Benefits, and the Optimal Path to Retirement” (MRDRC WP 2019-405, UM19-06), as basis for its article, “3 Social Security Regrets That Could Wreck Your Retirement.” “Nearly one-quarter (22%) of retirees say they have Social Security regrets, according to a 2019 study conducted by the Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center at the University of Michigan,” writes Motley Fool’s Katie Brockman. The piece was picked up in other regional news sources in November. 

Retirement industry magazine PLANSPONSOR also wrote about Prados and Kapetyn’s work in July: “A paper by the Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center found current employees have little to no understanding of what their retirement benefits would look like. Forty-nine percent said they had no knowledge on expectations for future benefit amounts.” ª