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Michael Finke: Here’s What Makes Retirees Happy

A respected retirement researcher discusses what types of spending are correlated with a better retirement--and which are not.

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Our guest on this week’s episode of The Long View podcast is nationally renowned retirement researcher Dr. Michael Finke. Michael is Professor of Wealth Management and Frank M. Engle Distinguished Chair in Economic Security at The American College of Financial Services. He joined the College in June 2016 having served since 2006 as a professor and PhD coordinator in the department of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University. From 1999 through 2006, he served as the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Missouri. Michael has published more than 50 peer review articles with a focus on the value of financial advice, financial planning regulation, investments and individual investor behavior. He was named to the 2012 Investment Advisor IA 25 list and the 2013 and 2014 Investment News Power 20. His research conducted with Wade Pfau, questioning the 4% rule was published in the Journal of Financial Planning and won the 2014 Montgomery-Warschauer award for the most influential article in the publication. He had previously won the award with Thomas Langdon in 2013. He was also selected to present his research on financial literacy and aging at the 2015 MIT Center for Finance and Policy Conference.


Michael Finke, PhD, CFP bio
Finke CV
2013 Investment Advisor IA 25 profile
2013 Investment news Power 20 profile
Montgomery-Warshauer Award

Withdrawal Rates

“The 4% Rule is Not Safe in a Low-Yield World” by Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP; Wade D. Pfau Ph.D., CFP; David M. Blanchett CFP, CFA; Journal of Financial Planning; June 2013

“Determining Withdrawal Rates Using Historical Data” by William ​Bengen; Journal of Financial Planning; October 1994

“Low Bond Yields and Safe Portfolio Withdrawal Rates” by David Blanchett, CFP, CFA; Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP, and Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFP; Morningstar Investment Management; January 2013

“Reduce Retirement Costs with Deferred Income Annuities Purchased before Retirement” by Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP and Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFP; Journal of Financial Planning; July 2015

“Why Advisors Should Use Deferred-Income Annuities” by Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP; Advisor Perspectives; November 2015

“Retirement Income for Life; Here’s a New Way to Get It” by Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP; Bottom-line Personal; July 2016

“Lifetime Income Solutions as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) Focus on Decumulation and Rollover”; Written Testimony of Michael Finke, Chief Academic Officer, The American College of Financial Services; 2018 ERISA Advisory Council, August 2018

Health and Cognitive Decline

“Old Age and the Decline in Financial Literacy” presented by Michael Finke at the MIT Center for Finance & Policy; September 2015

“Health and Retirement Study”; National Institute on Aging, Social Security Administration; University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research

“Managing Long-term Care Spending Risks in Retirement” by Michael Finke Ph.D., CFP and Wade Pfau Ph.D., CFP; 2017

“Old Age and the Decline in Financial Literacy” by Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP, John Howe, Sandra Huston; Management Science; August 2011

“Wealth Shocks and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Stock Market Fluctuations” by Hannes Schwandt; American Economic Journal; October 2018>

Retiree Spending

“Spending, Relationship Quality, and Life Satisfaction in Retirement” by Michael Finke, Nhat Ho, Sandra J. Huston; 2018 Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning & Related Disciplines; September 2017

“Spending in Retirement: Determining the Consumption Gap” by Chris Browning, Ph.D., Tao Guo, Ph.D., Yuanshan Cheng, and Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP; Journal of Financial Planning

“Estimating the True Cost of Retirement” by David Blanchett, CFP, CFA; Morningstar Investment Management; 2013

Asset Allocation in Retirement

“An Old Friend: The Stock Market's Shiller P/E” by Cliff Asness; AQR; November 2012

Daily Treasury U.S. Real Yield Curve Rates; U.S. Department of the Treasury

“Reducing Retirement Income Risk with a Rising Equity Glide-Path” by Wade Pfau and Michael Kitces; SSRN; September 2013

“The Effect of Advanced Age and Equity Value on Risk Preferences” by David Blanchett, Michael Finke, and Michael Guillemette; Journal of Behavioral Finance; January 2018

Equity risk premium data; website of professor Aswath Damodaran; Stern School of Business at New York University

“The Impact of the Broker-Dealer Fiduciary Standard on Financial Advice” by Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP, and Thomas P. Langdon, J.D., LL.M., CFP, CFA; Journal of Financial Planning; July 2012