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Financial Literacy Conference

Financial Literacy in Times of Turmoil and Retirement Insecurity

Friday, March 20, 2009, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

The Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC


The financial crisis has caused a reported $2 trillion loss in retirement accounts nationwide. A majority of Americans are worried their retirement funds may not be sufficient, and young and old alike are concerned about financial and retirement security. On March 20, the Brookings Institution, Wharton's Pension Research Council and Boettner Center, the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, and The Retirement Security Project co-sponsored a conference on financial literacy and retirement preparedness.The US Social Security Administration provided support for the conference, and Commissioner Astrue offered the Keynote Speech. 

The conference focused on how workers and retirees can better manage saving for retirement, and how they can stay secure during retirement. Participants identified research and policy directions for the future

Conference Agenda


8:30      Registration


8:50      Welcome

The Honorable Jason Fichtner, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Social Security Administration


9:00     Financial Literacy, Planning, and Retirement Saving

Chair: Mark Iwry, The Brookings Institution


Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning, and Retirement Wellbeing: Lessons and Research Gaps 

Annamaria Lusardi, Dartmouth College and Olivia Mitchell, The Wharton School

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Retirement Savings, Framing and Financial Literacy Julie Agnew, College of William and Mary

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Disentangling Cognitive Function and Financial Literacy: Implications for Financial Retirement Security Research Robert Willis, University of Michigan

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David Certner, AARP


10:30 Financial Illiteracy and Retirement Expectations: Prospects for Longevity, Decumulation, and Health

Chair: Olivia Mitchell, The Wharton School


Life-cycle Spending after Retirement and Adequacy of Economic Preparation for Retirement

Michael Hurd, Rand Corporation

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Individuals’ Understanding of Social Security Benefit

Erzo Luttmer, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University,

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Financial Entertainment

Nick Maynard, D2D Fund

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Andrew Biggs, American Enterprise Institute


11:45 Keynote Address

The Honorable Michael Astrue, Commissioner, Social Security Administration


12:15 Lunch and Roundtable Discussion of Agency Initiatives

Chair: Jason Fichtner, Social Security Administration


John Gannon, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Jeanne Hogarth, Federal Reserve Board

Kristi Kaepplein, Securities and Exchange Commission

Debra Golding, US Department of Labor

Ted Beck, National Endowment for Financial Education

Dubis Correal, Office of Financial Education, US Department of the Treasury


1:45      Alternative Approaches to Financial Literacy

Chair: Robert Clark, North Carolina State University


Strategies for Promoting Lifetime Income

Mark lwry, Retirement Security Project and Brookings Institution and David John, Retirement Security Project and Heritage Foundation

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Alternative Approaches to Financial Literacy

Shawn Cole, Harvard Business School

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Defaults and Saving Outcomes: Lessons, Research Gaps, and Implications for Saving Policy

Brigitte Madrian, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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John Phillips, National Institute on Aging


3:00      Marching Orders for Research and Policy

Chair: Annamaria Lusardi, Dartmouth College


Providing Low-Cost Advice for Middle-Income Households 

Sheryl Garrett, Garrett Planning Network

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Can Financial Literacy Help Debtors Recover from Bankruptcy

Michael Staten, University of Arizona

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Internet Survey on Financial Literacy and how SSA Might Access and Potentially Use this On-line Survey

Angela Hung, Rand Corporation

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William Gale, Retirement Security Project and Brookings lnstitution


4:15      Closing Remarks

John Laitner, University of Michigan