Program 2. Communication and Choice
As citizens have become more vocal on social issues, they are demanding transparency and greater control over their pensions. Evidence shows, however, that consumers do not always make decisions that are in their best interest, particularly when it comes to complicated decisions with long-term implications and risks that are difficult to foresee, essentially, any decisions related to ageing. Many people lack the knowledge, financial literacy, and engagement required to absorb the information available to them and use it to take action as needed. Behavioral economics and psychological factors play a big role in this.
Sound choice architecture can help people make the right decisions. There is a deficiency of knowledge, however, about how it affects pension communications and the pension products offered and the respective roles of the pension provider, employer, and government in providing pension advice. Which decisions should be left up to the individual (and which should not)? What can we learn from other countries that offer “guided” freedom of choice through such things as defaults and opting out? Should there be a distinction between the accrual and payout phases? Together with research into the use of existing options and targeted experiments, comparative international research can provide insight into the question of how best to supply information and design the choice architecture.