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Commentary

Navigating Blind Spots on the Road to Retirement

The investment industry needs to offer services that align with how people make decisions.

The path to retirement can be long and arduous, and despite the best of intentions, the investment industry itself often impedes individual investors' progress. Complex products that even experienced professionals struggle to understand, savings plans with unappealing names like "salary reduction plan," and options so numerous as to overwhelm even the most determined investor--these well-intentioned efforts on the part of financial professionals can often backfire in the hands of the consumer. Add to this the natural cognitive processes in the human mind that work against long-term planning, and we have a recipe for saving too little and misallocating funds.

Behavioral science and consumer psychology have revealed many areas where our financial products and services might be misaligned with our natural decision-making processes, but is there a bright side? How can insights from behavioral science help the industry to assist people in reaching their retirement goals? Here, we will look at three behavioral blind spots that threaten retirement goals and ways that investors and their advisors can work around them.

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