Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The fallacy of delayed retirement

This data is consistent with they hypothesis that, for the average American, functional decision making deteriorates after about age 53:
Marginal Revolution: Eight more years to go

....The sophistication of financial decisions varies with age: middle-aged adults borrow at lower interest rates and pay fewer fees compared to both younger and older adults. We document this pattern in ten financial markets. The measured effects can not be explained by observed risk characteristics. The sophistication of financial choices peaks at about age 53 in our cross-sectional data. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that financial sophistication rises and then falls with age, although the patterns that we observe represent a mix of age effects and cohort effects....
It's a long downhill ride to age 68.

Unless we can find a way to slow the natural Alzheimer's process, we should expect the employment situation and income of the average non-"tenured" workers [1] to deteriorate after age 55. Remember that the next time you read about how baby boomers will work so much longer than their parents ...

On the upside, I'm betting that today's 30 yo will be on preventive meds by the time they're 45 -- they may well be able to work into their 70s.

[1] Tenure as in academia, but also the "tenure" of senior executives who are no longer "at will" employees.

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