Choosing Outcomes Versus Choosing Products: Consumer-Focused Retirement Investment Advice

Choosing Outcomes Versus Choosing Products: Consumer-Focused Retirement Investment Advice

By
Daniel G. Goldstein, Eric J. Johnson, William F. Sharpe
Journal of Consumer Research.
2008, Vol. 35, Pages 440-456

Investing for retirement is one of the most consequential yet daunting decisions consumers face. We present a way to both aid and understand consumers as they construct preferences for retirement income. The method enables consumers to build desired probability distributions of wealth constrained by market forces and the amount invested. We collect desired wealth distributions from a sample of working adults, provide evidence of the technique’s reliability and predictive validity, characterize individual- and cluster-level differences, and estimate parameters of risk aversion and loss aversion. We discuss how such an interactive method might help people construct more informed preferences.