Steve Utkus

Steve Utkus

Steve Utkus oversees the Vanguard Center for Retirement Research, which studies many aspects of retirement in America—from how individuals start saving and investing in the early part of their careers, to how they prepare for actual retirement, to how they spend down their savings once they’re retired. Steve is particularly interested in behavioral finance—the study of how rational decision-making is influenced by human psychology. His current research interests also include the ways employers design retirement programs, and new developments in retirement in other countries. Steve holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He began working at Vanguard in 1987 and has served as director of the Center for Retirement Research since 2001. Steve is also a visiting scholar at the Wharton School.

Recent blog posts by Steve Utkus

Investing

Two sides to every trade

Suppose, after reading a favorable article on a company, you go out and buy the stock at $10 per share. A year later, the stock price reaches $20, and you close out your position, doubling your money in a year—a … Read more

Retirement

Debt and retirement

This may seem like an obvious point, but successfully planning for retirement has always required managing two sides of the household balance sheet: building savings and managing debt.

Two recent reports highlight how the debt side of the retirement balance … Read more

Retirement

Pension troubles highlight challenges

 

The City of Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing has raised questions about whether the city’s pension fund will be able to make good on its promises to workers. Detroit’s downfall has cast light on other public pension systems facing troubles, including … Read more

Retirement

The second half of retirement

I’ve been spending a great deal of time with 80- and 90-year-olds recently. My mom (now in her mid-80s) just moved to a new retirement community, and so it’s been a wonderful opportunity to observe older retirees in a personal … Read more

Retirement

The 401(k) debate

I just finished watching a new documentary on 401(k) plans. It was intended to be an exposé of sorts. The program combined criticisms of the U.S. retirement system and financial services industry with sinister music for added drama. After I … Read more

Retirement

Retirement: The married/single divide

One of the most intriguing retirement studies issued in 2012 was by economists James Poterba of MIT, Steven Venti of Dartmouth, and David Wise of Harvard.* Their study looked at wealth holdings among Americans in their late 60s. And one … Read more

Retirement

Is your retirement bucket leaking?

A new study reported in the press summarizes what retirement experts have known for a while: Tax-deferred retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs can sometimes be “leaky buckets,” meaning that some individuals tap their tax-advantaged accounts prior to retirement. … Read more

Retirement

Your retirement plan in 2013

It’s early in 2013. Stocks had a terrific year in 2012, the fiscal cliff has been avoided—and so now’s the perfect time to reconsider your retirement plan, right?

Well, yes and no. Yes, tax time is a good time to … Read more

Investing

Earning income in a low-yield environment

I participated in a live webcast recently on the topic of earning income in a low-yield environment. Here’s a recap of a few of the themes from that session.

One of the persistent questions from the seminar was how long … Read more

Retirement

Health and wealth in retirement

If I were asked what an investor should do to maximize retirement wealth, I’d tick off my standard list, my rules of thumb. Start saving early—and regularly. Keep debt under control. Maximize the use of tax-deferred retirement accounts, like 401(k)s. … Read more

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