Are Old Really Wise?


We are all familiar with the proverb ‘old is gold’ and general perception is that older people are more experienced and wise and make better decisions. But science has a habit  of contradicting with general perceptions and it says old is not really ‘gold.’ A research carried out by neuroscientists suggests that older people take more risk in less beneficial investment decisions than young ones. May be they are still hanging on to that ‘high risk high return’ idea.

But situation is more drastic than it seems and scientists are trying to figure out what sort of information old people need to come out with a better decision. Soon the percentage of people over age 60 will increase due to demographic changes taking place all over the world. The inability to make better decisions at this age can create further economic problems in the near future.

There is a mix of behavior among old people and not all of them are risk averse or risk seeking. The data collected from the past 10 years shows that financial decisions taken by people over age 65 have not done well. Research also demonstrated with an experiment that certain parts of the brain work when a person wants to take financial risk and make money and certain parts work when there is a fear of losing money. The experiment showed noise or distortion in the minds of older people that depicted that they cannot fully utilize the information the way they want to or cannot come out with a better decision

Various financial agencies are interested in this research carried out by National Institute on Aging and are hopeful that scientists will find out a way for old men to interpret the information in a better way.

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