ISR Awards

Implications of Alzheimer’s Disease Risk for Household Financial Decision Making

Managing wealth is a complex task facing older Americans. This task has become more complex as predictable streams of retirement income from defined benefit pensions have been replaced by 401(k) plans that need to be managed both before and after retirement. Many couples have a division of labor that results in each member specializing in particular tasks. For instance, one member (often the wife) may be primarily responsible for health care for the family, while the other (frequently the husband) may be responsible for household finances. A division of labor may be efficient, but only if the union is intact and if both members continue to hold the mental and physical abilities required by their responsibilities. What happens if one member of the couple begins to lose those skills due to a dementing disease such as Alzheimer?s?