The Foundations of Successful Financial Decision Making

Demographic change has resulted in many aging Western societies facing major financial challenges, including the question of whether social security and pension systems are well funded for the future. These developments are likely to force individuals to assume increasing responsibility for their financial decisions, such as saving and investment across the life cycle, with important individual and societal consequences. This requires financially savvy individuals who are able to make adequate financial decisions. The goal of our project is to explore the factors that lead to individual variation in financial decision-making and, ultimately, successful financial outcomes. We aim to do so by investigating the cognitive and motivational origins of individual differences in financial decision-making and evaluating their relative contribution to successful real-world financial choices.

We adopt an interdisciplinary approach by linking insights from cognitive psychology, decision neuroscience, behavioral finance, and developmental psychology to pursue several important goals:

  • To access individual variation in financial decision-making using a collection of different behavioral paradigms and measurement tools, including investment behavior at laboratory asset markets.
  • To contribute to decomposing the sources of variation in decision making through cognitive modeling and neuroimaging techniques designed to uncover basic cognitive and motivational processes.
  • By using field studies, we want to assess the relative contribution of specific cognitive and motivational processes to individual and age differences in real-world financial choices.

Overall, we hope to provide a deeper insight into individual variation in financial decision-making and, ultimately, the development of personalized intervention programs that can improve individual financial decisions.

Scientist looking into the persons brain

A look into the investors brain

Radio interview for (SRF1) "Echo der Zeit" with Prof. Dr. J. Rieskamp, ​​Prof. Dr. T. Hens and Dr. S. Maier. (only in German)