Aging and Financial Decision Making: What Changes and What Stays the Same?
By Hal Hershfield
In my ﬁrst faculty job at NYU, I taught an Intro Marketing class to a few sections of undergrads. Even though I was about 12 years older than the students, I still felt quite young – I was only 32, after all! Plus, it seemed like my students and I were more or less on the same page … that is, right up until I had one of my ﬁrst oﬃce hours appointments. As I was writing some emails and listening to a Spotify playlist, a student walked in and suddenly exclaimed, “Wow, this is not the same sort of music that my parents listen to!”
“Obviously, it’s not the same music,” I thought, “her parents are probably about 20 years older than me; there’s no way she can think I’m that old.” But of course, that’s exactly what she thought.
Shortly thereafter marked the first time I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “Am I … getting old?”
It was also the ﬁrst time that I started thinking earnestly, not just about my age but about how my age might affect my choices, especially my ﬁnancial ones (I’m a business school professor, after all).