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Financial Regret at Older Ages and Longevity Awareness


  • Abigail Hurwitz
  • Olivia S. Mitchell


Many older people express regret about undersaving; here, we extend prior work by reporting regret about five other critical financial topics. Using the Health and Retirement Study, we first show that older people who regret past financial decisions differ significantly from those who do not. Second, in an experiment, we demonstrate that informing people about objective survival probabilities increases regret about not buying lifetime income by 42% overall, and by more among the high income or those in good health. We also document that, for some, providing such information increases regret about having claimed social security early and undersaving. These results may explain previous findings about why survival information can alter financial decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Abigail Hurwitz & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2022. "Financial Regret at Older Ages and Longevity Awareness," NBER Working Papers 30696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:30696
    Note: AG LS

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    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G41 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making in Financial Markets
    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth

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