“An object at rest or in uniform motion will remain in that state unless an external force acts upon it.”
Newton’s First Law of Motion, 1687, translated from Latin
Isaac Newton was experimenting with inanimate objects when he discovered the laws of motion. But we in the retirement industry know only too well that these laws also apply to human nature. In an age when it is up to employees to take action in order to build retirement security, inertia has been a major impediment.
Fortunately, the leading behavioral economists of our time are showing us how to harness the power of inertia to work for retirement savers instead of against them. Read more
Much has been made throughout 2013 about the three “arrows” of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While this deflation-fighting plan of monetary loosening, fiscal stimulus, and structural reforms has been broadly successful, I believe it will be the strength or weakness of the yen that will determine whether Japan’s economy emerges convincingly from its deflationary period in 2014.
The Health-Wealth Connection – Understanding the power of a physically and fiscally fit workforce
I was at an industry meeting recently speaking to a group of employers, retirement plan record keepers, and financial advisors about the state of retirement readiness in America as we move from old America (working for one employer and defined benefit pension plans) to the new America (multiple jobs and defined contribution plans).
The central theme of the talk was that while Americans are not saving enough, viable solutions to get more Americans on track are becoming increasingly clear. We just need to move faster. Read more
To the rest of the country it may seem like strange bedfellows: a state in the heartland of America on a first name basis with the world’s second largest economy. But for the past 30 years that has been the case between Iowa and China.
Since 1983, Iowa has been in a formal Sister State relationship with Hebei province, China.
While vastly different in language, culture and size—Hebei is 24 times bigger than Iowa in terms of population (72 million vs. 3 million)— over the years the cooperative agreement has fostered friendship, understanding and trust as well as exchanges in education, culture and, importantly, trade. Read more
A new cottage industry has emerged in the financial world called “behavioral finance theory” (BFT). The foundation of BFT is that people often make decisions that rational economic theory fails to predict. In other words, there is something about human nature that drives us to make different choices around money and finances that a formula or financial plan might otherwise suggest we do.
Laurie Santos*, Director of Yale University’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory and Associate Professor at Yale University, and her colleagues conducted very interesting research regarding this subject. It involved a series of experiments involving capuchin monkeys (a good proxy for human behavior) that explored a handful of key behaviors as they related to behavioral finance theory. Read more
We work hard. We play hard. We train hard. That is the mantra among employees at The Principal this year. It is my personal challenge to them to take action to improve their physical fitness and, if they are already active, to take it to the next level.
The Road Race Challenge
For the second year in a row, I’ve challenged employees to run or walk a road race. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5K, 10K or a full-marathon. I want employees to experience the rewards of an active lifestyle.
More than 2,000 people around the globe took part in 2012. Nearly 2,100 have signed on so far this year. One of the best parts is that I get to run alongside them during periodic fun run/walks like the one pictured here. I will also run with employees in the IMT Des Moines Marathon races in October. Read more
As thousands of boomers a day flood into retirement, many experts are beginning to feel that the financial tools and strategies Americans need for living in retirement may not be the same exact tools and strategies that we need to save for retirement. Retirees need tools and strategies specifically designed to help them transition from a life fueled by an employer-provided paycheck to a life supported by a paycheck from themselves — a mycheck. That’s a pretty big deal, and it is often underestimated by many retirees.