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2014 Graduate Research

The 2014 CFP Board Registered Program Conference will feature a research poster session for graduate students (both master's and doctoral) to share their unpublished research and studies. Poster session proposals related to theses, dissertations, best practices, or position viewpoints exploring one or more areas related to the personal financial planning profession are welcome. 

Submissions of proposals for graduate research posters were accepted through April 30, 2014, and information about selected proposals can be found below.

Research Poster Titles:

Life Insurance and Psychological Well-Being in Retirement

Yuanshan Cheng, Texas Tech University
Dr. Michael Finke, Texas Tech University

Life insurance is commonly used to protect human capital loss due to premature death during accumulating stage. However in retirement, when the human capital is assumed to be exhausted, there are no obvious reasons why some retirees might choose to be still covered by life insurance. Some studies offered explanations such as using life insurance as a certain bequest while a majority of studies find evidences that supports the use of life insurance for survivor protection. This study is the first one to examine this problem following classical economic theory that individuals behave rationally to maximize the utility. A psychological framework is used. In measuring utilities, other than using traditional power utility function that includes only consumption, we extend utilities into psychosocial well-being. This article uses Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to present empirical findings on life insurance coverage during retirement. We find that the main reason of holding life insurance during retirement is that the holder can gain extra psychological well-beings. This may come from the feeling of comfort and confidence by protecting the survivors. Meanwhile there are some evidence that wives as beneficiaries are also better off, but better measurement needs to be identified in further research. Meanwhile even though we did not find differences in psychological well-being for survivors in terms of life insurance proceeds, but given the fact that there are financial utilities from life insurance payout, the survivors will be better off when protected with life insurance. Our study supports the survivor protection hypothesis of holding life insurance in retirement.

Investor Confidence: A Study of What Investors Value Most – Relationship vs. Performance

Valerie Ballesteros, University of Incarnate Word

In light of market volatility, recent global and domestic economic events, and growing distrust of the financial services industry stemming from the 2008 US financial crisis, this study is an examination of what US investors value more, either a trusted relationship with their investment advisor(s) or bottom-line portfolio performance. Using attitudinal survey data gathered from a select group of investors who have, have had, or are currently seeking professional advice from financial advisors, this study will examine if the advisor/client relationship is of greater importance to investors than portfolio performance results. The study will also examine specific demographics (e.g. age, gender, life stage) to identify if particular segments of investors are more or less inclined to seek a trusted relationship over bottom-line portfolio performance. The results will be reported to include specific recommended changes to practice management behaviors based on quantitative data analysis of investor responses to help identify if current investor experience with advisors is results-oriented or client centric.

Life Satisfaction during Retirement

Nhat Ho, Texas Tech University

With the wave of retirees from the Baby Boomer Generation approaching, retirement related issues have become a major focus for both economic and psychological researchers. Economist mainly focus on the economic well-being of retirees, such as retirement income adequacy. Psychologists, alternatively, study the process of retirement, which includes decision making, adjustment and retirees’ subjective well-being. Focusing only on the economic well-being may undermine the other retirement factors that can contribute to overall happiness, or life satisfaction, of retiree.

Built on findings from both economics and psychology, this study aims to identify the components of retirement commodities that contribute to retiree’s happiness. We hypothesize that these following factors will have a major impact on retiree’s life satisfaction: Income, Wealth, Health, Retirement Decision, and Quality of Social Life. Our sample data comes from the 2010 Health and Retirement Study Survey.

Using a linear regression model, we find that wealth, health and quality of social life have a significant influence on retirees’ life satisfaction. The more wealth retirees have, the more satisfied they are with their life. Interestingly, retirees start to experience less satisfaction after reaching a certain wealth level. Health also have major contribution to people’s happiness. Retirees with either good, fair or poor health condition feel less satisfied with their life compared with the ones who in excellent condition. Retirees are more satisfied with their life when they have close relationship with spouse and children. Furthermore, positive social support from spouse and children also increase retiree’s level of life satisfaction.

Commitment and the Rational Sinner

Tao Guo, Texas Tech University
Dr. Michael Finke, Texas Tech University

Most individuals have to make decisions on saving and investing in their lifetimes. Since saving and investment products are difficult to choose compared to other kinds of goods, individuals may experience some difficulties with this process. Those who search for financial information find better saving and investing opportunities than those who do not. This paper observes the search for financial information as it relates to gender. Consistent with prior research, the results of this study also indicate that females tend to not actively engage in high level of search for financial information compared to males. Higher risk tolerance, higher education, higher wealth, and higher financial assets all positively influence both genders toward increased in search for financial information. Understanding search behavior of females and males can help financial advisors and educators counsel their female and male clients appropriately.

Council On Education
CFP Board’s Council on Education advises CFP Board on the development and clarification of all educational policies related to the CFP® certification process.