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Sarah Newcomb: 'I Love Rules of Thumb'

The director of behavioral science at Morningstar discusses the value of smart shortcuts, why social media makes people feel bad about themselves, and how the pandemic changed how Americans save and spend.

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Our guest on the podcast today is Sarah Newcomb, director of behavioral science at Morningstar. In her role she works to integrate the findings of her research into Morningstar financial management applications and tools. Before joining Morningstar in 2015, Sarah earned her doctorate in behavioral economics from the University of Maine, where her work focused on the psychological barriers to sound personal money management. She's the author of Loaded: Money, Psychology, and How to Get Ahead Without Leaving Your Values Behind. Sarah also holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Salem State University, a master's degree in financial economics from the University of Maine, and a master’s certification in personal financial planning from Bentley University.



Loaded: Money, Psychology, and How to Get Ahead Without Leaving Your Values Behind, by Sarah Newcomb

Financial Education

Smart Shortcuts for the Good-Enough Investor,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Sept. 3, 2019.

Can a Rule of Thumb Be a Shortcut to Financial Well-Being?” by Samantha Lamas,, Jan. 25, 2021.

Keeping it Simple: Financial Literacy and Rules of Thumb,” by Greg Fischer, Alejandro Drexler, and Antoinette Schoar,, July 1, 2010.

Making the Science Practical: Behavioral Interventions in Practice,” by Sarah Newcomb and Benjamin Cummings,, January 2019.

A Simple Plan for Financial Independence,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Oct. 15, 2019.

The Complicated Art of Making Things Simple,” by Sarah Newcomb and Samantha Lamas,, May/June 2017.

Sarah Newcomb: Understanding a Client’s Money Mindset in Order to Maximize Their Well-Being,” The Human Side of Money podcast with Brendan Frazier,, March 17, 2021.

Encouraging Action Through Design and Testing,” by Sarah Newcomb,, April 29, 2015.

Don’t Give Up on Financial Literacy Efforts,”, Feb. 8, 2020.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, but Power Might,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Jan. 13, 2017.

Coaching Clients to Teach Their Kids About Investing,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Jan. 21, 2020.

How to Start Teaching Your Kids About Money,” by Sarah Newcomb and Samantha Lamas,, Aug. 4, 2018.

What Is Mad Money?” by Keonhee Kim,, April 6, 2021.

John Lynch: Rethinking Financial Education,” The Long View Podcast,, Dec. 11, 2019.

Overcoming Clients’ Behavioral Biases Using Nudges, Smart Heuristics, and Behavioral Coaching,” by Michael Kitces,, March 24, 2021.

Separating ‘Needs’ From ‘Wants’ Could Be Harming Your Financial Planning,” by Bill Keen,, June 2, 2021.

Financial Wellness and Tools

5 Financial Signs to Check Your Financial Independence,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Jan. 16, 2020.

What Makes People Happy?” by Carla Fried,, April 15, 2021.

Neighbors of Lottery Winners Are More Likely to Go Bankrupt,” by Leslie Albrecht,, Oct. 21, 2018.

An Innovative Way to Face Retirement,” by Emily Brandon,, Jan. 14, 2103.

Hal Hershfield

Is Instagram Making You Poor?” by Sarah Newcomb,, Oct. 18, 2018.

How Stories Drive Financial Behavior--and What to Do About It,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Sept. 14, 2020.


Year in Review: Pandemic Edition,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Dec. 3, 2020.

Sick of Uncertainty? Read This,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Nov. 3, 2020.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” by Sarah Newcomb,, Oct. 8, 2020.

Behavioral Finance

Daniel Kahneman

Richard Thaler

Gerd Gigerenzer