Pleasure from leisure or still enjoying working? Getting to the core of pension decisions

“Numbers lack meaning out of context”

Pension participants face complex decisions. Presenting participants with correct facts and figures is sometimes not enough for participants to choose the optimal alternative. If they succeed in determining the gist of the decision, people tend to make choices that are more in line with their values and preferences. This study identifies how participants make pension decisions and what considerations they have in doing so, in order to gain more insight into the gist of three common pension decisions: exchanging old-age pension and partner’s pension, allocating old-age pension over time and when to retire.

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Key Takeaway for the Industry

Especially now that pension options available to the public are growing, communication about pension decisions should focus on the fundamental factors and the values and preferences relevant for the participants concerned, so that participants can relate these to the exact facts and figures and make more meaningful decisions based on the right trade-offs.

Want to know more?

Read the paper ‘Naar de kern van pensioenkeuzes’ by Jelle Strikwerda, Bregje Holleman and Hans Hoeken (Utrecht University).

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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