Behavioral Finance: the study of social, cognitive and emotional factors in understanding the economic decisions of individuals.

I attended Frederick’s 8 th Annual Economic Symposium, held at The Weinberg Center for the Arts. The speaker was Ginger O. Brennan CEBS with ING. Ginger Brennan discussed Behavioral Finance: the study of social, cognitive and emotional factors in understanding the economic decisions of individuals. She provided insight on how markets can be impacted by consumers, borrowers, and investors rational and irrational behavior.

A ING study found that less than half of the respondents (48%) indicated that they feel “in control” of their retirement plan investments. The study, entitled “Shedding Light on Retirement,” found that while consumers want control and empowerment of their money, the expectation is that their employers, advisers and financial providers will help guide them.  Importantly, workers also want regular contact from their employers about retirement advice and services.  The study found that 89% of respondents want help allocating their investments, and 86% want guidance calculating their financial needs in retirement, with nearly as many (84%) saying that they want solutions for calculating and creating retirement income.

The study also highlighted that consumers seek a roadmap, in a set of tools and services that enable them to develop clear and actionable short- and long-term goals. More than three-quarters of Americans (80%) said they found it important to seek specific tools and services to provide advice on how to calculate financial needs for retirement. Other areas where Americans found specific tools and services to be important included providing advice on how to allocate retirement savings (79%) and providing an annual “financial checkup” to set and measure progress (78%).

To help Americans with clear information about retirement, the company has introduced a new website,  The site aims to help people make informed decisions about retirement while making it easy for them to consult with an ING retirement professional if they desire personal guidance about what to do with their retirement savings or income planning.

Visitors have three primary choices when navigating from the homepage: They can answer three basic questions to get advice targeted to their retirement needs, choose from a second menu of choices such as “Learn the Basics;” “Ready to Invest;” or “Talk to Someone;” or they can consider help from life-stage options such as “Starting a New Job;” “Between Jobs;” “Family Changes;” or “Considering a Rollover.” Each page of content focuses on a particular learning point and offers visuals and interactive components to help teach each idea.

I am not endorsing ING, or have any financial gain, I thought this evening was very informative.

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