Helaine and I continue our conversation on personal finance. Our topics include what your financial advisor has in common with Dionne Warwick.
Helaine then expresses skepticism about “nudges,” and more interestingly, about the inherent limits of behavioral economics. We discuss the pitfalls of a professional consensus in which retirement experts come to regard misguided individual behavior and impatience as the fundamental challenge in retirement saving policy. I myself am ambivalent about this issue. Our culture of consumption and pervasive innumeracy are genuinely serious problems. Yet one can narrowly focus on these issues and thus neglect the importance of stagnant wages and other macroeconomic problems.
In part 5, we ponder Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party as reactions to financial dislocation. Helaine is much more impressed by Occupy than I am. We finally close things out with a schmooze about what it’s actually like to sell a book in the internet era.