Aging citizens are required to make complex financial, health, and long-term decisions as they prepare for and then enjoy increasingly long periods of retirement. Moreover, as people age, there is a mismatch between the complexity of the decisions they face and the sometimes sudden, sometimes gradual cognitive declines that accompany aging. This project will develop new data that combines objective measures of behaviors and outcomes relating to wealth and portfolio choice, subjective measures of expectations, preferences, affect, measures of financial knowledge, and measures of cognition. By combining measurements across these domains, the project will develop a fuller understanding of the financial decision making and behavior of older Americans. The project will also advance the methodology for studying the behavior and decision making of older Americans by combining data from several modes: large-scale surveys conducted by mail, Internet, and telephone;laboratory experiments;cognitive interviewing;administrative records. Linking data for individual observations across these measurement modes will provide the fullest possible picture of the decision making and behavior, as well as enabling assessment and improvement of the methods of measurement. The methods advanced by the project for studying older Americans financial decision making will be extended to their healthcare decisionmaking. The financial crisis that began in the fall 2008 will have major effects on retirement finance. The project will study how the shocks to retirement assets have affected the retirement planning of older Americans and the well-being of retirees. Furthermore, the project will suggest and analyze innovations in retirement finance that better serve the needs of older Americans while addressing their need to make financial and other complex decisions while faced with the prospect of declining cognition.

Public Health Relevance

Older Americans must make complex decisions. This project combines data and analysis of wealth and portfolio choice with cognitive measurements to improve the understanding of older Americans'decisionmaking. The project will lead to innovations in retirement finance that will improve the well-being of retirees confronted with financial needs compounded by diminishing cognitive capacity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1)
Program Officer
Phillips, John
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Biostatistics & Other Math Sci
Organized Research Units
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code
Bruine de Bruin, Wändi; Strough, JoNell; Parker, Andrew M (2014) Getting older isn't all that bad: better decisions and coping when facing "sunk costs". Psychol Aging 29:642-7
Del Missier, Fabio; Mantyla, Timo; Hansson, Patrik et al. (2013) The multifold relationship between memory and decision making: an individual-differences study. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 39:1344-64
Bruine de Bruin, Wandi; Carman, Katherine G (2012) Measuring risk perceptions: what does the excessive use of 50% mean? Med Decis Making 32:232-6
Delavande, Adeline; Manski, Charles F (2012) Candidate preferences and expectations of election outcomes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:3711-5
Hudomiet, Peter; Kezdi, Gabor; Willis, Robert J (2011) STOCK MARKET CRASH AND EXPECTATIONS OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS. J Appl Econ 26:393-415
Smith, James P; McArdle, John J; Willis, Robert (2010) Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context. Econ J (London) 120:F363-F380
Rohwedder, Susann; Willis, Robert J (2010) Mental Retirement. J Econ Perspect 24:119-138
Manski, Charles F; Molinari, Francesca (2010) Rounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys. J Bus Econ Stat 28:219-231
Benjamin, Daniel J; Choi, James J; Strickland, A Joshua (2010) Social Identity and Preferences. Am Econ Rev 100:1913-1928
Kimball, Miles; Weil, Philippe (2009) Precautionary Saving and Consumption Smoothing Across Time and Possibilities. J Money Credit Bank 41:245-284

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications