Cognitive Ability, Expectations, and Beliefs about the Future: Psychological influences on retirement decisions

Published: 2013
Project ID: UM13-Q4


Recent advances in behavioral decision research, behavioral economics, and life-span development psychology provide leverage for expanding our understanding of early versus later retirement. The proposed project would examine how retirement decisions are affected by individual differences and life-span changes in (a) people’s ability to think through complex planning decisions, (b) their perceptions about their own future and the future of social security, and (c) the way that people approach the tradeoffs in these decisions. We will use existing and new data collected through the RAND-USC American Life Panel, including detailed assessments of fluid and crystallized intelligence, financial literacy, expectations for the future, future time perspective, and maximizing versus satisficing decision styles. These will be used to predict retirement expectations and, for retirees, actual retirement age and whether retirement was earlier or later than expected.