Doing It for Science

Renown behavioral economist Dan Ariely has approached Peak Prosperity regarding new research he's conducting.

If you haven't listened to our past podcasts with Dan (here and here), you really should. He's one of the world's foremost experts on how humans make decisions, particularly around money (spoiler: we're incredibly irrational). Moreover, he also gives really entertaining interviews.

Anyways, Dan is a fan of the site and has asked if we're game for answering a very short survey his research team at Duke has put together. It should take you <5 minutes (it took me 3). The summary findings will be posted here once Dan and his team have completed their analysis.

The goal of the research is to better understand financial decision making, specifically in regards to retirement planning. 

(I've told Dan the average reader's attitude towards retirement planning may differ from the average American's. He gets that, and still wants our perspective.)

If you can spare a few minutes, please click the button below to take the survey and do your part to help advance Science!


                                                           Take the Survey


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I started to take the survey but backed out because it felt too odd trying to answer such US-centric questions.
I'll be interested to see the results, though.

Done.  Hope I don't skew his results too badly wink

The survey form shown on my browser only had space for 4 digit numbers, but some of the items in their budget questions were 5 digits with one digit not shown. The sum at the bottom did not match the total of numbers shown.

Done. I told him we wold use the extra 2.5% income in our budget to buy physical things like materials for a chicken coop or more solar panels.

My concern is no longer retirement but preservation.  Once things correct you will be very surprised at the price of things.  No one can predict that so listening to a retirement planner NOW is useless.

… I fear Ariely will get a very skewed sample from us.  I am certain I did not give a very traditional set of answers.

Besides not following direction well, I don't go with the herd.
Then there is that odd feeling that I am beginning to have about participating in research being conducted at Duke…

… When my daughter is becoming a Tar Heel…

OMG! I have been in NC toooo long!!

hmmm, I wonder what "other" activities that catchall would cover in hobbies…

just wondering how chris and adam might use these results?

I would be very interested in a survey of PP members regarding usage of time. Regardless of our economic status, we all have 24 hours to use to our best advantage.
In other words, how do we allocate all the hours of each day. Obviously sleep would be on there. 4 hrs? 6 hrs.?  7 hrs.? 12 hrs?  

Some other categories might be: food prep and eating; gardening;  time at a paid job; tv viewing for news; tv and or movie viewing recreational;  school attendance; study time; market trading or monitoring; blogging; religious activities; musical activities; time for children; time caring for aging parents; time for medical needs; …etc.

Perhaps a weekly, monthly and or annual view might be useful to capture special events like vacations.

I guess I'm just curious about the community. 

Admittedly, I'm not the sharpest tack in the box when it comes to computer skills and I really don't have time to learn how to conduct a survey…So maybe, someone might find this idea interesting and run with it. 


because I think it's senseless to get our inputs.  I presently put ZERO of my salary into my 401K, purposely foregoing a very good company match, because I already have way too much of my net worth, given what I now know, behind the barrier of 401K/IRA… in other words I would much rather dollar cost average with after tax money into real stuff, including Gold and Silver, vs. put any more into these vehicles.  The test is too simplistic. 

I think we need to keep in mind that we don't actually know what the purpose of the study is. Often Dan's surveys are testing other things besides what is obvious from the content. I'm curious to know more about the intention of this work. Maybe Chris or Adam can find out more once it's complete?

I think the subject of the survey is to see how many people "read with comprehension" and follow the directions.  The actual answers are irrelevant…
(Just my guess.)


Oops.  Hopefully everyone takes the survey before reading my "spoiler".

He for got who spend 's the money , we will spend it the way we want to,not inside his box!!! 

I'm with PdeB; based on Dan's past M.O., I suspect the insights he's looking for here lie outside of the spotlight the survey is shining. I can't say for sure, as he hasn't revealed his strategy - I'll find out when the Duke team reveals the details once their analysis is complete.
Jim and others: To emphasize, I did clearly warn Dan that the PP audience likely had a lot less faith in retirement plans (401ks, etc) than the average American, and that our results will probably exhibit that bias quite strongly. He was unfazed; which strengthens my opinion that the real findings from the survey are non-obvious at this point.

Ferralhen: Chris and I don't have access to the raw data being collected here. We'll see the summary results at the same time we share them with everyone at Perhaps the findings will give us some inspiration or insights that influences our future plans, but we won't know until we see them.

Stan: if you're still having issues with the survey, please PM me with your browser and computer type, which I'll pass along to the Duke team in hopes they can help address.

OOG: that's a pretty simple survey to set up. If there's enough interest amongst the readership, I'll create it. It may be a little while before we can run it, given other things currently in the hopper, but the wait shouldn't be that long.

Impro ed  on the test…No 401K. We have RRSP with different tax deductibles. What is Dan going to do with that ?



Couldn't do the survey. Question one did not offer the proper answer. Besides the fact that even if I lived in the states I wouldn't put a penny into that scam, the correct answer would have been 20% since it's all my salary anyways. Question two did not allow for a zero contribution so I'm out there too. Poorly written if they wanted usable data. Maybe that was the point of the survey.