Racial and ethnic differences in longevity perceptions and implications for financial decision-making
Prior research suggests Covid-19 mortality has, in the U.S., disproportionately harmed those with low income, African Americans, and Hispanics. Have these groups’ subjective survival perceptions changed in a manner consistent with observed outcomes?
Inaccurate perceptions of life expectancy can lead to suboptimal financial decisions with long-term consequences, including undersaving before retirement and overspending during retirement. This study examines whether non-whites’ perceptions of longevity at the outbreak of the pandemic were consistent with observed reality, how these perceptions compared to those of white adults, and whether and how people’s perceptions changed a year into the pandemic.
The authors designed and fielded two surveys of U.S. adults using Prolific, an Internet-based crowd-working survey platform. The first survey was conducted March through June of 2020. Then in February through April of 2021, 2,298 of the same individuals were re-surveyed. Respondents were age 35 to 83 at baseline, with a mean age of 51.
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