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Hal Hershfield: People Treat Their Future Self as if It’s Another Person

A researcher and psychology professor discusses the challenge of getting people to empathize with their future selves and the implications for financial and retirement planning.

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Our guest on the podcast today is Professor Hal Hershfield. Dr. Hershfield is Professor of Marketing, Behavioral Decision Making, and Psychology at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. His research concentrates on the psychology of long-term decision-making and how people's perceptions of the passage of time affect the decisions that they make. He has consulted with numerous organizations including Prudential, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Merrill Lynch, and the Principal Financial Group. He received his B.A. at Tufts University and his Ph.D. at Stanford.

Background

Bio

The Pandemic

How Elvis Got Americans to Accept the Polio Vaccine,” by Hal Hershfield and Ilana Brody, scientificamerican.com, Jan. 18, 2021.

Should You Immerse Yourself in Bad News These Days or Ignore It Completely?” by Hal Hershfield, scientificamerican.com, May 5, 2020.

How to Craft the Vaccine Message for the Undecided,” by Bill Kisliuk, ucla.edu, May 4, 2021.

Your Messaging to Older Audiences Is Outdated,” by Hal Hershfield and Laura Carstensen, harvardbusinessreview.org, July 2, 2021.

Time Is Meaningless Now,” by Shayla Love, vice.com, April 10, 2020.

Saving for the Future

Daniel Kahneman

Temporal Reframing and Participation in a Savings Program: A Field Experiment,” by Hal Hershfield, Stephen Shu, and Shlomo Benartzi, halhershfield.com, 2020.

Using Vividness Interventions to Improve Financial Decision Making,” by Hal E. Hershfield, Elicia M. John, and Joseph S. Reiff, halhershfield.com, 2018.

Increasing Saving Behavior Through Age-Progressed Renderings of the Future Self,” by Hal Hershfield, Daniel Goldstein, William Sharpe, Jesse Fox, Leo Yeykelis, Laura Carstensen, and Jeremy Bailenson, halhershfield.com, 2011.

The Future Self,” by Hal E. Hershfield and Daniel Bartels, uchicago.edu, 2018.

Beliefs About Whether Spending Implies Wealth,” by Heather Barry Kappes, Joe J. Gladstone, and Hal Hershfield, londonschoolofeconomics.com, 2020.

Seeking Lasting Enjoyment With Limited Money: Financial Constraints Increase Preference for Material Goods Over Experiences,” by Stephanie M. Tully, Hal E. Hershfield, and Tom Meyvis, halhershfield.com, 2015.

Do Images of Older Americans Reinforce Stereotypes?” by Colette Thayer and Laura Skufca, aarp.org, September 2019.

Retirement and Older Adults

People Search for Meaning When They Approach a New Decade in Chronological Age,” by Adam Alter and Hal Hershfield, halhershfield.com, 2014.

Mike North

You Owe It to Yourself: Boosting Retirement Saving With a Responsibility-Based Appeal,” by Christopher J. Bryan and Hal E. Hershfield, halhershfield.com, 2012.