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Risk Preferences and the Investment Decisions of Older Americans

How the attitudes toward risk of people nearing retirement influence individual and household investment decisions is explored by Vickie Bajtelsmit and Alexandra Bernasek of Colorado State University in this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper. Since riskier portfolios generally result in higher returns for long-term investors, overly conservative investment behavior may result in reduced retirement wealth. Given the proliferation of defined contribution plans, especially 401(k)s, better understanding of individual risk-taking and portfolio allocation can help insure more adequate retirement income. (62 pages)

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