On Friday 8 Nomber at 12.45 hrs. Milena Dinkova will defend her PhD thesis Brace yourselves, Pension is coming: Consumption, financial literacy and tailored pension communication.
People generally do not like to think about intricate financial decisions and even less about long-term decisions like pensions. It comes naturally to postpone those decisions and enjoy the now instead of bracing yourself for a winter that might seem far away. Excessive information provision causing information overload does not help consumers either in dealing with pension planning.
With her PhD thesis Milena Dinkova contributes to the quest to offer a way out of the information overload and to activate people to become more involved pension planners. It consists of four studies that experimentally and empirically test the effectiveness of tailored pension communication and financial literacy on pension planning and consumption decisions.
Those studies made use of two tailoring approaches:
- in the e-mail invitations to participants to check their pension situation; where men and women and participants of different age categories received different messages
- in the website participants were redirected to, different versions have been designed (by age category) regarding the structure resulting in a different navigation per group. This way, the most prominent information for each age group was at the top of the webpage.
In general, young and middle-aged participants were less sensitive to tailoring and were also less active in looking up their pension situation than older participants.
Financial literacy positively associated with higher consumption level
A more general conclusion is that financial literacy was positively associated with a higher consumption level for elderly women and men who were part of a couples’ household. This also holds for different income levels and different education levels.
Financial behaviour could also be influenced by how much you like to think about complicated issues such as the provision of information on pensions. Insights from behavioural psychology can therefore help to complement economic analyses, says Dinkova.
Milena Dinkova is affiliated to CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, Netspar (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement) and a PhD student at the Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.).