I thought I would highlight some recent behavioral economics resources that caught my eye recently:
- Article: How Behavioral Economics Can Help You Retire Rich (Bloomberg article). Have your students read the article and ask them ONE action they will take based on these findings. Here are some of the interesting experiments described:
- How to get people to save more with their tax refunds: “In one experiment, a control group of users was sent a simple text after a refund showed up in checking. It asked what percentage of the refund they’d like to save. The answer: an average of 10 percent. The experimental group was messaged before getting any refund check. Its text said that members might get a tax refund and asked what percentage of it they’d want to save. They answered 15 percent.”
- How the 401(k) structure encourages savings: “A 401(k) plan is a pre-commitment device. “Imagine a world in which you didn’t have 401(k)s and every month you decided how much to save,” Ariely said. “It would be a terrible world, from a savings perspective.” Even better are automated programs that bump up contributions into 401(k)s. Fidelity Investments did some math on that. They used the example of a 25-year-old employee making $40,000 and getting annual raises of 1.5 percent after inflation. If she bumped up the percent of salary going into a 401(k) plan by 1 percent every year for 12 years, she’d have $1,930 more (PDF) in monthly retirement income.