Why saving—and spending—money gets trickier for retirees

As you age, money takes on a different meaning. Young go-getters seek a pathway to earn lots of it. Midcareer professionals fret about how to manage it. By the time you retire, the focus shifts to preserving it.

Seniors supposedly appreciate the value of a dollar. It’s the young who squander their savings on triple-latte coffee, right?

Actually, retirees aren’t necessarily paragons of prudent spending. They may demonstrate less discipline and more impulsivity when buying stuff they don’t need.

“Older people have very high discount rates,” said Olivia Mitchell, a professor of economics at the Wharton School in Philadelphia. “They tend to consume more today and downplay having the money a year from now.

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