Cognitive Ability and the Stock Reallocations of Retirees during the Great Recession

TitleCognitive Ability and the Stock Reallocations of Retirees during the Great Recession
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBrowning, C, Finke, MS
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Net Worth and Assets, Public Policy, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

Retirees are increasingly responsible for managing their retirement savings. The ability to manage these assets efficiently can have an important impact on retirement well-being. Lower levels of cognitive ability in old age can reduce an investor's ability to control emotional responses to a loss. Greater sensitivity to loss may increase preferences for safety following a market decline, resulting in allocations away from stocks that are associated with long-term underperformance. We investigate whether cognitive ability is related to stock reallocations among retirees during the Great Recession. Using the Health and Retirement Study, we find that cognitive ability is negatively related to allocations away from stock. Compared to those with the lowest levels of cognitive ability, respondents with higher cognitive ability are 40 less likely to reduce their stock allocation by 50 or more. These results suggest that the quality of investment decisions in old age may be compromised by cognitive decline.


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Endnote Keywords

retirement savings/assets/health shocks/cognitive ability/stock reallocations/Great Recession/Cognitive decline

Endnote ID


Citation Key8148