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

Rating your 401(k)

401(k) accounts are typically among the largest assets held by middle- and upper-middle-income households in the United States. So naturally they draw a lot of attention—in the marketplace, in the media, and in Washington. The government, for example, is proposing … Read more

Economy & markets

The graying budget

Several years ago at a speech in New York, I warned that “a future President Clinton or McCain would face a daunting budget challenge from population aging.” My political forecast was off, but my economic and demographic forecast is unchanged.… Read more

Investing

Nervous markets

In recent weeks, stocks have sold off from their recent highs. It appears that the enthusiasm that drove equity markets higher since last March may have run its course.… Read more

Economy & markets

Interest rates: a worry for 2010

It’s still early in the new year, and there’s lots to worry about in the investment domain and in the broader world. But one item tops my “worry list” for 2010: interest rates. And it’s hard to decide which is … Read more

Personal finance

The culture of saving

Are Americans becoming more thrifty? Personal savings rates are up, the government statistics tell us. This fact has engendered a wide-ranging debate. Is this just a short-term deviation from America’s obsession with spending, or is it a permanent change?

I … Read more

Retirement

The “pink slip” risk in retirement planning

I’ve mentioned in several previous posts that the anxiety about 401(k) balances has been largely overstated, in part because of the beneficial effects of ongoing contributions and diversified portfolios. This point has come across as Pollyanna-ish to some of you, … Read more

Retirement

Another look at 401(k) accounts

I elicited some grief from certain Vanguard Blog readers by talking about a recovery in 401(k) accounts earlier this year. Allow me to provide an update on the issue.

Recall my basic premise: As a result of ongoing contributions, … Read more

Retirement

Boomer market meltdown?

Should you invest differently given the impending retirement of tens of millions of baby boomers? This is a question I’ve received from advisors and investors in recent weeks, and one which, quite frankly, I’ve given little thought to throughout the … Read more

Retirement

The new retirement math

For retirement investors, the weak 10-year track record of stocks means it’s time to renew a focus on the economics of retirement. The math is pretty simple, at least at a high level:

Contributions (C) + investment returns (R) = … Read more

Investing

The trouble with bubbles

The history of bubbles is a story of excessive enthuasisms, for anything from tulip bulbs to subprime mortgages. But is there something more fundamental at work? Something more innate and psychological? It seems to me there is.… Read more

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