Saving and Attitudes to the Future
How are variations in inter-temporal preferences or planning behavior linked to inequality among households in long-term outcomes, such as savings, marriage or health? We use a simple regression method to develop an index of "future-orientedness" based on how an individual’s reported attitudes in the 1970s predict wealth many years later. Our results suggest that variation in planning matters more for future net worth than discount rates. We find that this index also has statistically significant effects on offspring savings and on non-financial choices such as the timing of children.