News, Analysis, and Research for the Retirement Planning Industry

Posts Tagged ‘Deep Dive’

The Great Collapse of the 21st Century

In Uncategorized on 13 October 2011 at 10:29 pm

Editor’s Note:  One bright spot in the current economic malaise is the surprising availability of gently used time travel equipment at very reasonably prices (I practical stole my Wenger quad-lithium SRP-22 from Seth MacFarlane).  While flitting about space-time, openly mocking Hawking’s chronology protection conjecture, I brought back a chapter from a 22nd century textbook titled “American Economic History – The New England to the Martian Colonies, 500 Years that Changed Everything”.   Enjoy.

Chapter 13:  The Great Collapse of the 21st Century

The Great Collapse, was different than the other depressions and recessions that preceded it.  It was not simply market speculation, shenanigans, and bad fiscal policy (though those undoubtedly played a part), nor was it just a particularly nasty downward slope in the business cycle.  Rather, it was the build-up of decades of pressure from unsustainable societal choices with respect to spending, taxation, domestic policy, and labor, combined with stunning political cowardice, that resulted in a Read the rest of this entry »


Neuroscience Made E-Z: Rewiring Plan Participants Brains to Improve Retirement Preparedness

In Uncategorized on 23 February 2011 at 10:11 am

“How can we get people to save more for retirement?”  It is unlikely that any financial planning question has been the focus of more white board brain storming sessions, the topic of more conference breakout sessions, or the subject of more academic papers.  Yet for all of the effort expended on getting Americans to save more, there has been frustratingly little progress in changing behaviors.

It has become painfully clear that changing participants’ behavior is difficult, but have we looked closely enough as to why it is so difficult?

An article in the current issue of strategy + business might shed some light on that question.  Jointly written by a research psychiatrist (Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA), a vice president of learning and development (Pablo Gaito at Cargill) and a former EVP of American Express (Doug Lennick, co-founder of Lennick Aberman), the authors provide insights from neuroscience to help reframe behavior and drive organizational change.   Their primer on neuroscience and many of their principles for effecting organizational change can be used as guideposts for developing new strategies to change participant behavior.

Brain geography

Schwartz cites three areas of the brain that evolved early in humans and are responsible for many of our Read the rest of this entry »

Extending Social Security’s Early Retirement Age

In Social Security on 13 November 2010 at 4:07 pm

Social Security is a terrific entitlement program.  However, there seems to be some confusion over to what, exactly, one is entitled.  Social Security’s primary component is The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund.  It was created pursuant to section 201 of the Social Security Act Amendments of 1939 (superseding the Social Security Act of 1935) with the goal of preventing the elderly and infirm from living in poverty.  There is nothing in section 201 (or any other section of the Act), which endows recipients with the inalienable right to golf, travel, and winter in Florida. Read the rest of this entry »