Behavioral Finance

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The psychology of decision making

How information is presented, or “framed,” and other personal biases affect decision-making. The TIAA Institute focuses on such issues as how to motivate people to make decisions about when to claim Social Security, whether or not to annuitize, and how to save for retirement. 


February 2018

Procrastination keeps employees at the default contribution rate, but only in “opt-out” plans.

May 2016

More than 30 million Americans are projected to retire in the next decade – and most have not saved nearly enough for retirement. Moreover, almost half of all Social Security recipients claim benefits at the earliest possible age (62), which can greatly reduce their total lifetime benefits.

November 2015

As employer-sponsored savings vehicles like 401(k)s become a major source of retirement income for millions of Americans, personal biases can have an outsized impact on retirement security.

Research Reports

January 2011

A growing literature shows how consumers make mistakes in a variety of different settings pertinent to financial decision-making.

August 2008

This two phase study examined how to motivate women to save for retirement. The quantitative first phase validated findings regarding the existence of distinct personality types among women regarding retirement saving.

April 2008

A growing body of research suggests that savings decisions are affected by a wide range of influences that play no role in a conventional neoclassical model of savings behavior, including framing effects, default effects, and inattention.