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Adults Make Riskier, More Inconsistent Decisions As They Get Older, Study Finds 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-have-more-reason-to-worry-about-the-short-term dept.
schliz writes "People aged over 65 make poorer financial decisions and more inconsistent choices than younger individuals with the same IQ, an international research group has found. The study (abstract) had 135 healthy participants aged 12-90 make a series of decisions: for example, choosing between gaining $5 and the chance to win $20 in a lottery. On average, over-65s earned 26-39% less than all other age groups, including adolescents — a finding that could partially explain their susceptibility to problem gambling and scams."
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Adults Make Riskier, More Inconsistent Decisions As They Get Older, Study Finds

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  • and they have to get rid of it somehow.
    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @01:57PM (#45005727) Homepage Journal

      OR, they're more worried about fiscal security at the end of their lives, and fear of things like being shoved in a crappy nursing home and having all their possessions sold off frightens them into taking risks they wouldn't otherwise consider.

      Not all people over 65 are rich, you know; fact is, most are quite the opposite.

      • by bitt3n (941736) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:27PM (#45006101)

        OR, they're more worried about fiscal security at the end of their lives, and fear of things like being shoved in a crappy nursing home and having all their possessions sold off frightens them into taking risks they wouldn't otherwise consider.

        The study says fogies prefer less risk.

        Compared to other age groups, older adults tended to prefer to lock in guaranteed earnings over gambling on a bigger win.

        Now you can turn your theory around to make it about how the poor elderly are fearful of losing what little they have etc. etc., should work just as well for you.

        • Fair enough.

        • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:46PM (#45006321)

          Mod parent up.

          That's pretty much the way I read it too.

          Old folks don't necessary look at the world as a place where you buy a few shares of Apple or Google and wait for it to grow, or where you throw money into a gambling addiction expecting your luck has to turn someday.

          The author tries to spin simple fiscal conservatism as something irrational. But older people know the odds are always in the houses favor, and are less willing to play that game. Sounds like the people with gambling addiction were the people writing the story.

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            The author tries to spin simple fiscal conservatism as something irrational. But older people know the odds are always in the houses favor, and are less willing to play that game. Sounds like the people with gambling addiction were the people writing the story.

            It indicate to me that the older people align desires differently from the laws of probability. And sometimes that means less risk, but sometimes more. What they didn't break down was that elderly are less risk tolerant for gains (one in the hand is worth two in the bush), but are more risk tolerant for losses (I don't know a good parable for here).

            It isn't about fiscal conservatism, but inconsistent application of probabilities. And it's that inconsistency that was interesting.

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:52PM (#45006401)

          The study says fogies prefer less risk.

          Not quite. The study found that geezers are less willing to take a risk to win, but more willing to take risks to avoid a loss. In many cases they were avoiding good risks and taking bad risks. Overall, they were making worse decisions than younger people when either accepting or declining risks.

          • by bitt3n (941736) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @03:28PM (#45006987)
            so it would seem that younger people are less susceptible to loss aversion [wikipedia.org]
          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            The study says fogies prefer less risk.

            Not quite. The study found that geezers are less willing to take a risk to win, but more willing to take risks to avoid a loss. In many cases they were avoiding good risks and taking bad risks. Overall, they were making worse decisions than younger people when either accepting or declining risks.

            This is consistent with what we are taught. Look at retirement accounts. When you are young you are encouraged to take more risk and invest heavily in equities. By retirement, you are encouraged to be heavy in fixed income. Normally that is a safe position. However, since you are no longer diversified, if something happens to interest rates, you face a significant decline in value.

            It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with training.

            • This is consistent with what we are taught.

              No it isn't. There is no logical difference between taking a risk to win $20, and taking a risk to avoid the loss of $20. Either way, you net $20. Old people are not taking more risk or less risk, they are just taking dumb, illogical risks.

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          The study says fogies prefer less risk.

          The study says fogies prefer *more* risk, when it comes to losses.

          But when it came to gambling on a loss (where you can choose between say, a $5 loss or a chance to lose either $0 or $8), older adults took significantly more risks.

          But I got that from TFA, and not the actual study, so manybe the study says something different.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Just as likely, the older folks saw thru the research and a painless way to bet on a big score, something they seldom actually do in
        real live.

        As for unacceptability to scams, you really only see this in people new to the internet or who never had to deal with dishonest merchants before, perhaps because a deceased loved one took care of that for them in the past. Unless there is an under lying dementia problem old folks are harder to fool than kids, or even 20-somethings.

      • Not all people over 65 are rich, you know; fact is, most are quite the opposite.

        The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater [boston.com] than a household headed by someone under 35. This wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago.

        • by bored (40072)

          Your article points out much of that gap has to do with house prices.

          Which I agree with, and would like to point out that the housing market is similarly fragmented. There are a lot of places in the US where the house values continue to decline, and others where the house values are exceeding the pre bubble values. But the one trend everywhere is that the houses in the upper 1/4rd of the desirability scale are the ones going up. Its the white flight syndrome but it seems to have more to do with "class" and

        • by firewrought (36952) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @03:40PM (#45007219)

          The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater [boston.com] than a household headed by someone under 35. This wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago.

          Isn't that as it should be, after working and saving all your life? Net worth includes possessions, house, savings for retirement, etc. Also, take the aging one-percenters (or the 0.1%) out of the numbers (or use median instead of mean) and I bet the disparity growth is a lot flatter. Fundamentally, there's a difference b/t being well off because you worked hard all your life and being well off because you (1) owned the means of productions, (2) bought off legislators, and (3) found a way to exploit others.

          • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @04:03PM (#45007701)

            Isn't that as it should be, after working and saving all your life?

            You ignored: "This wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago" even after you quoted it! Some disparity is desirable (since people bulk up savings for retirement) but why has it grown so fast and so large?

            I can tell you this, my dad worked at a company extremely similar to where I work, and he is enjoying a retirement I will never have, at least without extreme sacrifice now which he did not do. He got a full pension and pre-medicare healthcare benefits - both things that my employer has cut since after I hired on here. I tell him about it and he's kind of surprised. I can't blame him personally. But in general old people are just cruising along assuming nothing has really changed and "what's the matter with kids these days" that they're racking up college debt and not settling down, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they're sucking up everything in sight just by honoring the promises they made to each other back when, while failing to set enough aside to pay for them.

      • OR, they're more worried about fiscal security at the end of their lives, and fear of things like being shoved in a crappy nursing home and having all their possessions sold off frightens them into taking risks they wouldn't otherwise consider.

        Well, just as an anecdote...my Mom and Dad both retired circa 1999-2000. They moved most of their retirement funds out of stocks pretty much at the peak of dot-com bubble, which in retrospect was a brilliant move as they effectively cashed out just before the market tanked.

        Fast-forward to 2007-2008, and they had a good portion of their funds in stocks and got burned quite a bit in the crash (they had a substantial holding in WaMu, which didn't help). When I asked my Dad why he didn't stay in more conser

    • by ebusinessmedia1 (561777) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:03PM (#45005803)

      "On average, over-65s earned 26-39% less than all other age groups, including adolescents — a finding that could partially explain their susceptibility to problem gambling and scams."

      Might this have something to do with the fact that age discrimination is ripe in the workplace. Try landing a well-paying corporate gig if you are over 60, no matter your skill set. It's nigh impossible. And, with decreasing job opportunities for workers over 60, one can imagine that some significant minority of them become more desperate to the point where they begin to consider irrational alternatives to making ends meet. Of course, this doesn't eliminate the fact that very senior individuals - some with excess money to burn, use that money to fill the ever-increasing, yawning gap of boredom and disconnection in their lives brought on by the social isolation of the elderly in our culture. So, I think this is more of a structural problem.

      • by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:08PM (#45005857) Journal

        ... Might this have something to do with the fact that age discrimination is ripe^W rife in the workplace ...

        FTFY

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        A lot of that isolation is self enforced. Of course no one wants to visit great-grandma when she just wants to scream racist gibberish about the president and homophobic crap about your cousins. Old people often have beliefs that are simply not compatible with living in a modern society. You can't take them into public if you fear they may call your waiter the N word or go on a tirade about the jews when you are trying to get groceries.

        • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:18PM (#45005991)

          My (german) grandmother has advanced alzheimer's, and is has reverted pretty much to her childhood. On a good day, she's in her 20's (which covers the period from 1939-1945). She has been known to wax poetical about Hitler, and has interesting ideas about homosexuals, gypsies, and the jews.

          I still visit her. I leave my girlfriend at home when I visit her, and smile politely when she tries to introduce me to men she knows (knew back then). One time, she tried to hook me up with my uncle. At family events, my GF is "a good friend who didn't have anybody to visit" for the benefit of my grandmother. You may choose to sweep the elderly under the rug, I choose not to. We can still be compassionate in how we treat them, and there are constructive ways to deal with people who hold beliefs that we disagree with.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            There are beliefs we don't agree with and then there are people who would rather see you dead.

            Imagine if your grandmother found out about your girlfriend, what would you do then?

            • by mdielmann (514750)

              There are beliefs we don't agree with and then there are people who would rather see you dead.

              Imagine if your grandmother found out about your girlfriend, what would you do then?

              Your statement might be interesting in the general sense. In this specific instance, your point is moot. What would you have her do with a person who is literally stuck with a mentality of half a century ago, no rational discussion will change her attitude (especially once she forgets the conversation), probably doesn't remember you half the time, and quite likely has no capacity to do you harm? You would be just as wise to be outraged at her clear promotion of incest...presuming she had any awareness of

          • by dcollins (135727)

            I fear that I'm developing Alzheimer's, because I can't tell if this thread has been Godwin'd or not.

        • You can't take them into public if you fear they may call your waiter the N word or go on a tirade about the jews when you are trying to get groceries.

          I have had both of these things happen to me on more than one occasion. Each time it was as if the world went in to slow motion and I could not get my mother out of the area fast enough. At one point in a particularly awkward situation I seriously thought someone was going to punch my 73-year-old mother in the face. No matter how many times I try to expla
          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            You can't take them into public if you fear they may call your waiter the N word or go on a tirade about the jews when you are trying to get groceries.

            I have had both of these things happen to me on more than one occasion. Each time it was as if the world went in to slow motion and I could not get my mother out of the area fast enough. At one point in a particularly awkward situation I seriously thought someone was going to punch my 73-year-old mother in the face. No matter how many times I try to explai

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            I've had a granny say things like "you can't trust those people" when insisting I count the change handed to me by a clerk. I always did just fine by looking at the person who was being insulted and shugging my shoulders. Hopefully conveying the idea that I've educated Nana as much as possible, and she insists on acting in the manner she does. I've had more knowing looks than angry, all by acknowledging the comment to be inappropriate and my inability to do anything about it.
        • by lgw (121541)

          You may have odd grandparents. On the whole, I find there's as much to learn from previous generations as there is to discard.

          There's this growing, worrying tendency on the left side these days to simply dismiss out of hand anyone who says anything against orthodox beliefs. Yes, it's perfectly possibly that someone who thinks gays are bad has valuable insights to offer in unrelated areas of life, if you can keep an open mind about cultures different from yours.

          Of course, the right has always had this prob

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Actually I was speaking about inlaws, but whatever.

            I think I did not explain adequately, they don't want to talk about anything else. They only want to discuss what that seekrit mooslim ursurper has done now to hand over the country to the devil or how your friends and family will rot in hell for being gay or whatever. They have no interest in discussing valuable stuff, just whatever they heard from similar nuts.

            I never mention I am an atheist for example, I don't want to fight about it, but they have to st

        • LOL, you just reminded me of how my grandmother was. There was no stopping her going on about the Jews at home or in public. I do not miss having to take her shopping and to the doctor.
      • by pla (258480)
        Might this have something to do with the fact that age discrimination is ripe in the workplace.

        No. No, it might not. Know know I can tell you didn't even make it all the way through the FP summary? :)

        TFA means that number as only in the context of this one experiment, not as a generalization about the incomes of the elderly.
      • by macraig (621737) <.mark.a.craig. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:28PM (#45006111)

        You didn't interpret even TFS correctly: the "earnings" were from the game to which the participants were subjected. It nothing at all to do with their employment prospects.

      • Also, Soylent Grey tastes lousy, so they don't even have that going for them.
      • by steelfood (895457)

        No, both TFA and you are conflating two different issues. Actually, there are three issues at play, two of which are mutually exclusive and the other two are related but not exactly the same.

        Over 65 is retirement age. You're not socially expected to work anymore (though you may still need to). So the fact that seniors take more risks has nothing to do with age discrimination, which has the greatest effect on people between 55 and 65, i.e. below 65. Falling for a con is not the same as gambling, but the elde

        • by wes33 (698200)

          "Actually, there are three issues at play, two of which are mutually exclusive and the other two are related but not exactly the same."

          I am intrigued by your mathematics

        • "No"

          Exactly: no.

          TFA is easy and clear. Conclussion: we get dumber with age.

      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Good point. Also, $5 is much more substantial to 12 than a 65.
    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      ...or their memory goes, they get confused more easily, and they get targeted by con artists who specialize in bilking the elderly. Saw it happen to my grandpa. We finally had to lock down his accounts and appoint my uncle as a conservator. He was signing over his pension checks to every gypsy that came to his door. Then he would call his sons up, confused that his checks were suddenly bouncing.

    • I've already taken that into account with my death plan, whore-house heart attack.

  • by skids (119237) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @01:59PM (#45005757) Homepage

    ...someday you say to yourself "Look, for my entire life I've done the 'right thing' and even now it doesn't help my joints stop aching or buy me a bowel movement, so what the hell, let's try something else."

  • "Feeblemindedness" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:01PM (#45005769)

    That's what my dad used to call it when it happened to grandpa. Grandpa went from being a shrewd businessman to being someone we had to keep an eye on at all times (he would fall for every con artist who showed up at his door). That why "Travellers" in particular prey on older people.

    • by bitt3n (941736)

      Grandpa went from being a shrewd businessman to being someone we had to keep an eye on at all times (he would fall for every con artist who showed up at his door).

      What's his address? I've got some great pills that will help him with that.

  • by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:02PM (#45005783)

    "Each participant were faced with 320 decisions: for example, choosing between gaining $5 and the chance to win $20 in a lottery."

    After a few dozen questions like that, I'd be so bored that I'd start choosing randomly without thinking about it just to get it over with. There's no way in hell I would seriously think about each and every question out of a list of 320.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:05PM (#45005827)

      Did they correct for income?

      Kids and young folks are more motivated to get $5 since they have low resources. If you are retired, why not take the chance on $20 vs a sure $5 you don't need?

      • by dgreer (1206)

        Not income, wealth. 60+ has one of the lowest income brackets, but it's the wealthiest. They already made their money, now it's time to have fun, hence playing the lotto.

      • If you are retired, why not take the chance on $20 vs a sure $5 you don't need?

        But TFA says exactly the opposite occurred--"older adults tended to prefer to lock in guaranteed earnings over gambling on a bigger win".

        The noteworthy part of the study is not simply that the elderly made less money, but that their decisions were inconsistent and irrational.

      • by Lynal (976271)

        Did they correct for income?

        Kids and young folks are more motivated to get $5 since they have low resources. If you are retired, why not take the chance on $20 vs a sure $5 you don't need?

        Yes. They would need to.

        The idea is this:

        Would you take $1 or a coin flip for $2?
        Would you take $5 or a coin flip for $10?
        Would you take $10 or a coin flip for $20?

        An `irrational' person would answer (Yes, No, Yes), or (No, Yes, No). Someone that answered all Yes or all No would not be inconsistent, nor would someone who answered (Yes, Yes, No) or (No, No, Yes), those people would be labeled as risk averse then risk loving.

        As someone who has to sit through a lot of talks about research like this, Grum

        • by skids (119237)

          An `irrational' person would answer (Yes, No, Yes), or (No, Yes, No).

          Actually those answers could be perfectly rational depending on how hungry you are, how much cash is in your wallet, and which fast food restaurants are within walking distance.

      • by bitt3n (941736)

        Did they correct for income?

        Kids and young folks are more motivated to get $5 since they have low resources. If you are retired, why not take the chance on $20 vs a sure $5 you don't need?

        Except the study says fogies prefer less risk.

        Compared to other age groups, older adults tended to prefer to lock in guaranteed earnings over gambling on a bigger win.

      • by arobatino (46791)

        The article and the abstract didn't specify the probability of winning the $20 (the full paper is paywalled). In any case, the article said that old people were more likely to play it safe when gambling on earnings, so I'd guess that the probability was higher than 25% and they chose the $5 anyway, not the $20.

      • This operates the opposite. When you are older chances are you have a fixed income. If so, don't have time to take a chance because if you take that chance and it fails to pay off you don't have time to earn it back. You are better to go for the $5 that is safe. If you are younger, if the chance doesn't pay off, you still have the chance of maybe earning it back down the road.

        Although I recently saw this happen with my own father. Who, in the words of my cousin who is a certified financial planner, is

    • by bgarcia (33222)
      For that matter, I think that once I reach age 65, I'll start to also become bored with life and start taking some chances here and there.

      Call it "Walter White Syndrome". :-)
    • by Krishnoid (984597) *

      "Each participant were faced with 320 decisions: for example, choosing between gaining $5 and the chance to win $20 in a lottery."

      After a few dozen questions like that, I'd be so bored that I'd start choosing randomly without thinking about it just to get it over with. There's no way in hell I would seriously think about each and every question out of a list of 320.

      Sounds like someone's running low on blood sugar [nytimes.com]. Seriously, though, I wonder if they considered having to correct for that effect.

      • If the questions were presented in random order, you could look for a regression linked to how far into the test a particular subject was when they got to that question.

  • by medv4380 (1604309) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:03PM (#45005809)
    If you figure you only have 5 to 10 more years left why not take a little more risk. When you have 50 years left to regret the choice it makes more sense to take less risk.
  • It makes sense to say "feck it!" and live whats left of life to the fullest. Young people would have it in their mind that they are going to be around for another 50-100 years. As I get older myself I find it more and more tempting to try something just to see what happens. When you are young you start off nice and naive and with little to lose so you make risky decisions, spend a couple of decades as a boring risk-averse PHB type who worries about absolutely everything but then after a while you will get tired of that too.

    The world is ruled by grey-haired folk who are still a good bit away from retirement, have lots to lose (career, assets, life). Which explains why the world is getting more boring by the day.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Oh, good point. Maybe old people make riskier decisions because they have less to lose.

  • by halfEvilTech (1171369) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:05PM (#45005831)

    I may get flamed for this but screw it. This would explain a lot of the issues we see from the Congress Critters.

  • Maybe it's just that the olders have more to lose (and more experiences, good/bad/otherwise, to pull from) so the risk goes up.
  • Sad but True (Score:2, Informative)

    by superid (46543)

    My dad is an engineer and has an MBA. He's 79 and been retired for a while. He could be the case study for this article. He has made horrible financial decisions for the past 15+ years despite a career of doing exactly the opposite.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45006169) Journal

    I was reading this in my car on the way to the payday loans place and I got so outraged that I drifted out of my lane and hit a parked gasoline tanker. So I figure I might as well park here and finish reading the thread. There's a lot of smoke but with the windows rolled up it isn't too bad.

  • Cognitive Biases (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:34PM (#45006173)

    This sort of thing is in the general class of cognitive biases. Another example of this class is the Dunning Kruger effect.

    Cognitive biases have a large negative effect on the financial performance of the general public. In particular if you want to be a successful investor it's very important to be aware of this issue.

    Daniel Kahneman (a psychologist) won the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics because of his pioneering work in the field of Behavioral Economics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman [wikipedia.org]

  • by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:44PM (#45006289) Journal

    I read about another study where they found financial ability peaked, on average, at 53. Before that you don't have enough experience. Then cognitive decline sets in. YMMV of course.

  • Maybe this TED talk of James Flynn [ted.com] about why we could have higher IQ than our grandparents is relevant. What about the financial decisions of those old people when they were young?
  • So once again a behavioral study whose subjects all came only from developed First World nations, and likely only those whose first language was English? What could go wrong?

  • This is just the difference between short and long term investment strategies. When one is young, it makes sense to use long term strategies that minimize risk and go for gradual growth. When one is elderly, long term investment makes no sense anymore. Look backward and see missed opportunities; look forward and see an approaching dead end. The chance to make it big gradually is gone, and the only hope one has left to live one's dreams is explosive growth. It's now or never, so short term, high-risk st

    • That is exactly the opposite of what courses in portfolio theory and risk management teach. The amount of risk that someone can reasonably tolerate is directly related to one's time horizon. Younger investors are wise to invest in assets that have higher risk, because their performance smooths out over time. On the other hand, older investors have a greater need for stability, since they will be drawing upon those investments much sooner--they cannot afford to have a large proportion of their portfolio i

  • Heck when I turn 75 I think I might try heroin, start smoking cigarettes again, and have unprotected sex with 28 year old hookers. Why the hell not?

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Relevant quote from Little Miss Sunshine:
      "When you're young, you're crazy to do that shit [heroin]. Me?! I'm old! You get to be my age -- you're crazy not to do it."

    • You just described my retirement plan.
      Except you forgot 28 year old Thai hookers.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @03:07PM (#45006585) Homepage

    Some of it could be due to attitudes changing after retirement. Before retirement the idea of having to put back savings for retirement and be careful not to blow your money because you're going to need it later colors your thinking. After retirement you don't need to save up for retirement, and you become very aware that you do not have an entire lifetime ahead of you to worry about anymore. That changes your evaluation of risk.

  • by gameboyhippo (827141) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @03:32PM (#45007073) Journal

    I hardly believe it's an age issue. You would have to demonstrate that the same person made different decisions at different points in their life. It would be like saying, "The older you get, the more likely you'll not know how to use a cell phone." It's just not true.

    The reality is that you have generational cultures. For example, I'd bet older people smoke more too. Doesn't mean I'm going to do it when I get old. I know better now than they did at my age.

    • The reality is that you have generational cultures. For example, I'd bet older people smoke more too. Doesn't mean I'm going to do it when I get old. I know better now than they did at my age.

      This is a crucial point. People who are 65 or over now are a generation who have had to deal with the uncertainties and complexities of investing in IRAs and other retirement accounts to save -- something their parents probably didn't have to do in the same way, since they had often had pensions. Their parents likely could throw something in a savings account or savings bonds and gradually watch the growth over the decades, but the current older generation was told to put money in mutual funds in their IR

  • Where's the post score filter? I love being able to hide or semi-hide all posts below a certain threshold.
  • Why our IRAs/401Ks perform so poorly. They're almost all invested and managed by over 65 folks.

  • As you get older every system in your body suffers some degree of degradation. We know people suffer cognitive decline starting in their 40s, so it's really no surprise people over 65 don't display the same ability to make intelligent choices they did when they were younger.
  • by trongey (21550) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @05:02PM (#45008451) Homepage

    As we get older we start realizing that we have less opportunities left to succeed and less time to suffer the consequences of failure. We also come to realize that losing isn't as painful as we always thought it would be, and in the worst case we could end up dead - in which case we won't care. It just makes sense to take more risks. Falling for scams comes from a host of other age-related factors that include both physiological changes and changes in attitude.

  • ... when I pull up to the school crossing in my Cadillac? The brake or the gas?

  • Old fogey hatred (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @10:41PM (#45010741)
    Yet more of the hatred toward Boomers and what they have done.

    As a person on the tail end of the boomer generation, I saved a lot of money from my paychecks, I retired at 56, and am living quite comfortably.

    We get surely a lot of hate. We're Selfish, entitled, and now foolish. Bloody fucking hell - I don't even collect SS for many years yet. I am not costing you poor abused, persecuted, and robbed of your entitlement everyone elses a damn thing, You want my fucking bank account or something?

    Perhaps a different perspective is in order.

    I started my career, back in the 70's, and immediately began saving. Pretty conservative investments. A lot of people I worked with at the time said that was pretty stupid. I had people making 3, 4 times as much who saved nothing, Whatever.

    Young people have their chance to do the same as long as they have a job . But many don't want to. Just like many of the folks I worked with way back then. Right now interest rates are not that good. But history shows they will eventually go back up. Inflation was the big excuse not to save when I was young. Now it's interest rates. Ignore that. Save. You'll be an idiot for a few years. After that, not so much.

    Now for a dose ot truth.

    We are at the point, where people who haven't planned well, or people who don't really intend to plan well, resent and hate those who did. But if you are successful in your efforts to make those of us who did plan well poorer, that will not make you wealthy. You'll still be poor, you'll just have more company.

    So if you really really gotta hate on us, go ahead. Tha'ts the only thing you'll have though - your hate, and the prospect of trying to live on Social Security. Save your money - no one owes you anything.

  • by GauteL (29207) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @04:02AM (#45011791)

    ... possibly because the summary does a very poor job of representing the article, by leaving out the most important part of it.

    The elderly are not overall more willing to take risks, it is just that the risks they are taking are different and less consistent. If faced with potential earnings, they'd rather take smaller guaranteed earnings than larger and riskier earnings; exactly the sort of stereotype of the cautious elderly you'd expect.

    But if faced with losses they'd rather take the risk of a much bigger loss than the guaranteed loss.

    My interpretation is that they are so afraid of losses they'll do anything to avoid them, even irrationally gambling to avoid loss. This sort of fits with the stereotype of keeping money in your mattress to avoid losses in bank charges and taxes, despite the fact that one single fire or robbery would ruin you.

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