The Miracle of Compound Interest: Does our Intuition Fail?
AbstractWhen it comes to estimating the benefits of long-term savings, many people rely on their intuition. Focusing on the domain of retirement savings, we use a randomized experiment to explore people’s intuition about how money accumulates over time. We ask half of our sample to estimate future consumption given savings (the forward perspective). The other half of the sample is asked to estimate savings given future consumption (the backward perspective). From an economic point of view, both subsamples are asked identical questions. However, we discover a large “direction bias”: the perceived benefits of long-term savings are substantially higher when individuals adopt a backward perspective. Our findings have important impli- cations for economic modeling, in general, and for structuring advice and financial literacy programs, in particular.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2010-137.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://center.uvt.nl
Behavioral economics; financial intuition; financial literacy; com- pound interest; retirement saving;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice and Growth - - - Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007.
"Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation,"
CeRP Working Papers
66, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessi, 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," DNB Working Papers 146, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers 07-23, Utrecht School of Economics.
- van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J. M., 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/27, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 13565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maarten vanRooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers wp162, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002.
"Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan,"
NBER Working Papers
8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Donkers, A.C.D. & Melenberg, B. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 1999.
"Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries; A Large Sample Approach,"
1999-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. " Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-95, March.
- Binswanger, J. & Carman, K.G., 2009.
"How Real People Make Long-Term Decisions: The Case of Retirement Preparation,"
2009-73, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Binswanger, Johannes & Carman, Katherine Grace, 2012. "How real people make long-term decisions: The case of retirement preparation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 39-60.
- Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Cindy Soo & David Bravo, 2010. "Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 16452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Binswanger, J. & Carman, K.G., 2011. "The Role of Desicion Making Processes in the Correlation between Wealth and Health," Discussion Paper 2011-005, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Markus Noeth & Antoinette Schoar, 2012. "The Market for Financial Advice: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 17929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard Broekman).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.