TIAA Institute and Pension Research Council showcase how understanding behavioral finance can improve retirement outcomes

NEW YORK (March 5, 2021) – The TIAA Institute and its long-standing partner, the Pension Research Council (PRC) of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, released new research focused on harnessing behavioral finance principles to promote better retirement outcomes. 

Shared as part of the TIAA Institute Fellows Symposium, the research explores topics critical to the financial health and well-being of people from all walks of life, from the implications of the gig economy on retirement savings to the effect of plan investment defaults to the optimal ways of conveying the risk that people will outlive their money.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues, millions of Americans are facing unprecedented levels of financial stress and uncertainty,” said David Richardson, Managing Director of Research at the TIAA Institute. “The need for nuanced, thoughtful research to improve our understanding of the behaviors and biases that affect financial security and retirement readiness has never been clearer, and these studies provide new insights that can help guide investment providers, financial advisors and individuals during this critical time.”

The research framed the symposium discussions among prominent researchers and added to the TIAA Institute’s growing series of behavioral finance studies that examine how people make key financial decisions and how these decisions vary by generation, race, financial literacy levels and more.

“We are delighted that we have successfully initiated, co-sponsored, and brought to fruition such extremely useful and high-quality studies on enhancing retirement security,” said Olivia S. Mitchell, Director of the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “The TIAA Institute’s vision in continuing to drive new research in this field must be applauded.”

The following research was released during today’s symposium. To view key findings and download the full reports, please click here

●    Shoring Up Shortfalls: Women, Retirement and the Growing GigSupp Economy, researchers: Caroline Bruckner (American University) and Jonathan Barry Forman (University of Oklahoma)

●    Testing Methods to Enhance Longevity Awareness, researchers: Abigail Hurwitz and Orly Sade (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and Olivia S. Mitchell (University of Pennsylvania)

●    How do Behavioral Approaches to Increase Savings Compare? Evidence from Multiple Interventions in the U.S. Army, researchers: Bill Skimmyhorn (William and Mary) and Richard W. Patterson (United States Military Academy at West Point)

●    Auctioning Annuities, researcher: Gaurab Aryal (University of Virginia)

●    Financial Well-Being among Black and Hispanic Women, researchers: Robert Clark (North Carolina State University), Olivia S. Mitchell (University of Pennsylvania), Annamaria Lusardi and Hallie Davis (The George Washington University)

Press Contact: TIAA Media Team, 888-200-4062,

About the TIAA Institute
The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success. For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit and follow us on Twitter @TIAAInstitute.

About the Pension Research Council
For over 65 years, the Pension Research Council/Boettner Center at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has sponsored research on the entire range of private pension and Social Security programs, as well as related benefit plans in the U.S. and worldwide. Follow us on Twitter @PensionResearch and learn more at 

About TIAA
With an award-winning  track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA ( is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1.3 trillion in assets under management (as of 12/31/2020 ) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.