Saving Regret: Self-assessed Life-cycle Saving Behavior in the U.S. and Singapore

Published: 2020
Project ID: UM20-17


Some studies have raised concerns that many households reach retirement with limited financial resources. The behavioral economics literature posits that procrastination may be an important explanation. We fielded a survey in the RAND American Life Panel, asking respondents ages 60 to 79 whether they wished they had saved more and spent less earlier in life. We found evidence of saving regret (55%), but little relationship to indicators of procrastination. Instead, financial shocks (positive and negative) experienced earlier in life were strongly correlated with saving regret.  We propose a comparative study of saving regret in the U.S. and Singapore, based on a similar survey fielded in the Singapore Life Panel.  We aim to investigate whether in Singapore there is a similar lack of relationship of regret to measures of procrastination, and whether shocks also play an important role.  We will exploit the differences in the policy environment to better understand the mechanisms leading to saving regret.