Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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The retirement years can be a time of one’s life enriched by new freedom and comfort. While increased longevity has brought great joy into seniors’ lives, it has also brought about financial challenges for which many seniors and their families are unprepared. Although individuals continue to build their financial experience throughout their lifetime, their financial capabilities may diminish as they age. Older adults who experience cognitive decline often have difficulties managing their money. Financial mistakes made by the elderly include falling victim to financial fraud, failing to plan for future expenses, and forgetting to pay amounts owed. Most older individuals have exited the labor market, which limits their ability to respond to financial shocks. This article reviews research findings on what happens to cognition at older ages and how diminished financial capacity affects the financial landscape for seniors. I also outline what can be done to address these challenges before they become problems that can no longer be ignored.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2017 publication: Financial Decision Making and Retirement Security in an Aging World.


aging, retirement, financial decision making, cognitive decline, fraud, scams

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2016 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.



Date Posted: 06 March 2019