Risks in Advanced Age

Guillemette, M. A. (2017). Risks in Advanced Age. Journal of Financial Planning. Forthcoming.

13 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017 Last revised: 18 Jul 2017

See all articles by Michael Guillemette

Michael Guillemette

Texas Tech University - Department of Personal Financial Planning

Date Written: March 13, 2017


• This paper reviews both published and emerging research on different risks retirees face and possible solutions financial planners can use to help clients overcome behavioral hurdles.

• Risk assessment questions that measure loss aversion, as well as reducing myopic behavior, can help keep clients in portfolios that align with their preferences.

• A preference for certainty has been observed in advanced age and older defined contribution investors exhibit equity-varying risk aversion, so client risk preferences should be reassessed later in life.

• Clients face declining cognitive abilities over time that correspond with a decrease in investment performance and financial literacy skills.

• There is in inclination for older people to reject evidence of declining skills, but if financial planners make clients aware of their declining cognitive and financial literacy abilities before retirement they may be more willing to choose simplified and satisfactory solutions.

• A retirement consumption puzzle has been observed as wealthy individuals do not decumulate portfolio assets efficiently during retirement and therefore retirement income models may be overstating retirement living expenses.

• Wealthy people are living significantly longer than their less wealthy counterparts, creating the need for retirement assets to last for an extended period.

• Longevity “insurance” can be an effective way to help clients spend more during their early retirement years, while also protecting them against the tail risk of running out of money prior to death. However, conflicts of interest within adviser compensation models may hinder the demand for longevity insurance.

• A financial plan that includes ways the adviser and client can work together to overcome inevitable risks in advanced age should improve the likelihood of helping clients achieve both their financial and life goals.

Keywords: Risks, Advanced Age, Old Age, Certainty Effect, Equity-Varying Risk Aversion, Cognitive Ability, Financial Literacy, Retirement Decumulation Puzzle, Longevity Risk, Longevity Annuities, Longevity Insurance

JEL Classification: D81, D60, D12, D13, D14, D18, E21, G02, G32, H31, I18, J11, J24, J26, L50, L88, O16, O38, P34, P36

Suggested Citation

Guillemette, Michael, Risks in Advanced Age (March 13, 2017). Guillemette, M. A. (2017). Risks in Advanced Age. Journal of Financial Planning. Forthcoming. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2932336 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2932336

Michael Guillemette (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Department of Personal Financial Planning ( email )

1301 Akron Ave, HS-260
Box 41210
Lubbock, TX 79409-1210
United States

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