Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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Recent research documents that people are increasingly entering old age with more debt than ever before and with little or no retirement planning. This paper examines some reasons why older people’s financial behaviors depart from the predictions of the life-cycle model, where the latter predicts that older persons would be at the peak of their wealth accumulation process and manage their money so as not to run out of savings in retirement. Drawing on the rapidly growing literature on financial literacy and financial behavior at older ages, we highlight findings on financial literacy patterns. We also document that “better” financial behaviors are strongly associated with greater financial literacy in later life. We close with some thoughts regarding limitations, policy implications, and next steps.


Financial well-being, financial literacy, financial education, financial behavior

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

Forthcoming in The Handbook on the Economics of Ageing, Eds. David E. Bloom, Alfonso Sousa-Poza, and Uwe Sunde. Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge. All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2022 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Date Posted: 11 January 2022