Psychological vulnerability leads
people to procrastinate. Procrastination is a psychological state that makes
people desist from carrying out tasks or making decisions by systematically
postponing deadlines. To make matters worse, the greater the task or the
decision, the more they procrastinate. When they have no alternative left but
to tackle the problem, it is too late to solve it effectively.  While people understand that postponing
retirement-related decisions carries future costs (to pension income), the
immediate cost to be incurred in terms of time and effort encourages them to
avoid the planning.  The temporal
distance between retirement and more immediate tasks lead people to what is
known as temporal discounting (Raaij). This refers to people’s tendency to
prefer immediate rewards to rewards more distant in time. Temporal discounting
is explained by the fact that individuals attribute more value to a reward
obtained immediately than to a greater reward obtained later. Current pleasures
prevail over future benefits. For instance, a consumer will typically prefer
$500 now to $520 in a month’s time. Waiting a month for $20 more is not
perceived as a sufficient trade-off. The satisfaction resulting from the
immediate reward is overweighed. 
People’s preference for immediate rewards decreases and eventually
reverses as the time horizon lengthens. The further a reward lies in the future,
the less value is attributed to it. If the person is offered $500 in six months
or $520 in seven months, they will select the second option.  People would rather have some money to spend
now (in restaurants, the movies, long-weekend holidays, etc.) than postpone
consumption in favor of a better pension income (a reward obtained in twenty-
or thirty-year time). The tendency to prefer a modest reward now rather than
anticipating a more significant return in the future can be disastrous for
saving toward retirement.


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