Financial Regret at Older Ages and Longevity Awareness

TitleFinancial Regret at Older Ages and Longevity Awareness
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsHurwitz, A, Mitchell, OS
Series TitleNBER Working Paper
Document Number30696
KeywordsFinancial decisions, financial regret, longevity awareness

Older people often express regret about financial decisions made earlier in life that left them susceptible to old-age insecurity. Prior work has explored one outcome, saving regret, or peoples’ expressed wish that they had saved more earlier in life. The present paper extends attention to five additional areas regarding financial decisions, examining whether older Americans also regret not having insured better, claimed benefits and quit working too early, and becoming financially dependent on others. Using a controlled randomized experiment conducted on 1,764 respondents age 50+ in the Health and Retirement Study, we show that providing people objective longevity information does alter their self-reported financial regret. Specifically, giving people information about objective survival probabilities more than doubled regret expressed about not having purchased long term care, and it also boosted their regret by 2.4 times for not having purchased lifetime income. We conclude that information provision can be a potent, as well as cost-effective, method of alerting people to retirement risk.

Citation KeyNBERw30696