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

Retirement

Maximizing retirement account balances

I was just reading a blog that reported the typical pre-retiree had $42,000 in a 401(k) account as of 2010. Yet, I happen to know the actual figure is more like $100,000. These two numbers reveal how much confusion can … Read more

Retirement

Too gloomy a view

Retirement systems are dynamic and can be expected to change over time. But one hindrance to thinking about change is the common practice of promoting excessively gloomy views of retirement outcomes in the United States. For example, a recent New Read more

Retirement

Wealth implosion 2007-2010

The headline is dramatic. For the typical American household, net worth is down 39% from 2007 to 2010. That puts net worth for the typical household back where it was in the early 1990s. This data is from the Federal … Read more

Retirement

401(k)s in the crossfire

401(k)s remain a focal point of criticism when thinking about retirement security in America. One example is a recent op-ed column in The New York Times.

Perhaps the most commonly cited concern about 401(k)s is the size of current … Read more

Investing

Fees: out of sight, out of mind

One of the vexing questions in the investment world is why many investors are inattentive to fees. While Vanguard has helped create a class of investors that’s fee-conscious and fee-aware, the fact remains that many individual investors remain in high-cost … Read more

Retirement

A crisis of confidence?

The latest figures are out from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in Washington, D.C. Unsurprisingly, “retirement confidence” remains down from its peak in 2007, and is at levels similar to what we saw during the Great Recession.

What’s going … Read more

Retirement

Retirement ready—or not?

A new report just came out on the retirement prospects for baby boomers.* Its top-line result was that 40% of all boomers aren’t prepared for retirement.

Whenever the topic turns to retirement in America, the language is fairly dismal. Last … Read more

Investing

A gem of wisdom

In the investment world, you occasionally come across a simple yet striking observation. Here’s an example from a recent client letter of Howard Marks, chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., and one of Vanguard’s external investment advisors:… Read more

Investing

Starting 2012 on the right foot

It’s a new year, so here are a few investment and retirement thoughts that come to mind for 2012.

When it comes to investing, Theme #1 among investors, especially among the majority of the retired or conservative crowd, continues to … Read more

Retirement

Portfolios and the lost decade

My recent comments about the performance of retirement accounts elicited a wave of comments from Vanguard investors about poor stock market returns. Here are a few thoughts in response.… Read more

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