The overall goal of this program project is to furnish information that will help in improving the financial, emotional, and physical well-being of Americans in the years preceding and following retirement. It comprises four related research projects and an administrative core to support the conduct and dissemination of the research. Project 1 seeks to determine to what extent Americans adequately prepare themselves economically for retirement, that is, do households have the resources needed to finance a consumption plan from retirement through the end of life with high probability? The answer is based on estimated life-cycle trajectories of consumption and spending for single and married persons, compared with wealth and income data. Project 2 seeks to improve the comparability of subjective well-being measures across countries. It involves administering two types of well-being measures?global life satisfaction and day reconstruction methods intended to sum momentary affect?to each of two population-representative Internet panels, one in the United States and the other in the Netherlands. Common anchoring vignettes provide for comparability. Project 3 explores differences between the United States and England in health, socio-economic status, consumption, and cognition in older populations. Issues addressed include the ways in which health and SES are affected by each other as well as by additional factors, the implications of differences in housing and out-of-pocket medical costs for total household consumption, and the relationship between cognitive abilities in married couples and decisions related to health. Project 4 aims to establish the empirical foundations of how individuals form and establish expectations. The analysis recognizes that the expectation formation process is likely to vary by domain of outcome (e.g., stocks vs. survival), and by individual psychology (e.g., myopic vs. forward-looking, optimistic vs. pessimistic). Projects will benefit from cooperation?e.g.. Projects 1 and 4 on subjective survival probabilities. Projects 2 and 3 on vignettes?as well as from the environment supported by the administrative core.
This integrated set of projects bears on issues related to the well-being of older Americans-whether they are financially secure enough after retirement to afford health care without giving up housing and other things they value, how their income and education influence their health (and vice-versa)l, how they form expectations about their future that can influence their financial security and health.
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