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Episode Summary

Christine Benz has been dispensing financial planning knowledge and impacting lives of people around the world for decades.

She’s written hundreds of articles for Morningstar on practical and tactical financial planning advice. In fact, she’s one of the best out there.

But there are three articles in particular that stick out from the rest.

They deviated from her usual style laying out step-by-step technical knowledge and ventured into the field of psychology and emotions when it comes to money.

In one, she admitted to her own money “mistakes” being emotional, not logical.

In another, she explained that “luxury goods are what make her feel good on the inside rather than look good on the outside.”

And, in the last one, she makes the case that the next great behavioral finance frontier should be the psychology of retirement spending. In other words, how can we get retirees to actually spend and enjoy their hard-earned money?

So, we talk with Christine about the psychology of retirement spending, why peace of mind is the ultimate luxury good, and the biggest money mistake she’s ever made.

Things You’ll Learn

  • How her view of “luxury goods” has shifted from material things to meaningful things
  • The psychological advantage of prioritizing short-term over long-term goals
  • The behavioral importance of celebrating financial planning milestones
  • Why “peace of mind” is her ultimate “luxury good”
  • Adding a “Peace of Mind” allocation to a client’s portfolio
  • The emotional reason behind the biggest money mistake she’s ever made
  • The psychological benefits of a bucketing approach in retirement
  • Why it’s so hard for retirees to actually spend their money
  • The role identity plays in being able to spend money in retirement
  • The “anchoring” effect every retiree has to contend with
  • Using a “Retirement Policy Statement” to document retirement spending rules

About Christine Benz

Christine Benz is director of personal finance and retirement planning for Morningstar and senior columnist for In that role, she focuses on retirement and portfolio planning for individual investors. She also co-hosts a podcast for Morningstar, The Long View, which features in-depth interviews with thought leaders in investing and personal finance.

She is a frequent public speaker and is widely quoted in the media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, CNBC, and PBS. In 2020, Barron’s named her to its inaugural list of the 100 most influential women in finance; she appeared on the 2021 list as well. In 2021, Barron’s named her as one of the 10 most influential women in wealth management.

Other Episodes You’ll Like On The Psychology of Money:


Christine Benz (LinkedIn)

Christine Benz (Twitter)

Christine Benz (Morningstar)

The Long View Podcast

“Real Luxury Goods Don’t Have Brand Names” by Christine Benz

“Do As I Say (Not As I Do)” by Christine Benz

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

“Guaranteed Income: A License To Spend” by David Blanchett and Michael S. Finke

Wade Pfau’s Retirement Income Style Awareness Profile

Retirement Income Style Awareness Questionnaire


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