Saturday, March 20, 2010

Default choices

There has been considerable discussion in recent years about encouraging people to make better choices by providing appropriate default choices. I was mildly sympathetic to such policies but my first encounter with them has proved extremely annoying. I signed up for a savings plan with my new employer and was given no opportunity to make an initial selection from the investment choices. So my first payment ended up in a default selection which I would not have chosen and which has some risk of loss. This is unlikely to cost me a lot of money as I have now changed the destination for future payments and exchanged the existing account to my desired choice. Still I will be mad if I lose any money at all because of this. And I am now warier of the arguments for paternalistic default choices in general.

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