Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013: The Year Ahead

Happy holidays to everyone.

Lots of stuff going on here. For one thing, I am preparing this blog post using Dragon NaturallySpeaking software. I will not make any edits to the transcription, so you may see a number of errors or misappropriated words. This will give you an idea about how well the software transcribes what I say. Actually it does pretty good when I'm speaking into the microphone.

I Wednesday this week Michael Finke and Sandra Huston (note that I did correct the spelling of their names) presented their research that grips. I recorded their presentations with an audio recorder, hoping that I could transcribe it using this new software. However that is not working so well. It would be great if I could find a way to make that work, because there are huge productivity enhancing opportunities in being able to transcribe spoken word rather than having to type.

The presentations were quite interesting.

Prof. Finke I spoke about the value provided by financial planners. He makes an important critique that many existing studies treat brokers as planners, rather than considering comprehensive financial planners. Those studies tend to show that financial planners do not help provide better financial outcomes to their clients. However Prof. Finke has data which allows him to distinguish between brokers and comprehensive financial planners, and he does find evidence that comprehensive financial planners to help their clients save more for retirement.

Sandra Huston spoke about measures of financial literacy. She is working on a project to develop measures that consider both knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge.

On a personal note, now could be a good chance to let everyone know that I am moving back to the United States next year. I will become a professor of retirement income at the American College in suburban Philadelphia. I will be teaching in their new PhD program in financial services and retirement planning. They began accepting applications for the program in November, and I understand that the first cohort of students will begin classes in July 2013. I will be arriving there in the spring and will be teaching half of the second course in the sequence, covering the distribution period for financial assets.

The PhD program is done online with several weeklong residency requirements. Some of you may be interested in learning more about the program and potentially becoming students. You can read more about the program at this web address:

I did copy and paste that web address rather than trying to spell it out to the software.

One other note, along with Prof. Finke was down here in Tokyo as well, we were both selected as part of the InvestmentNews Power 20 people to watch in 2013 in terms of impacting the  impacting the financial planning profession.

They profiled me for the series, and it can be a little difficult to read that article without signing up as a user, but there does seem to be a backdoor way to see the article. If you do a Google search for the following:

wade pfau power 20

And then click on the link entitled:

Power 20: Wade D. Pfau - InvestmentNews

It will let you read the article without registering as a user.

Thank you for reading my blog in 2012 and please continue reading for much more in the year 2013.

That mostly ends this entry, but please note that the transcribing software did a pretty good job here. I did have to correct a few proper nouns such as letting it know how to spell investment news is one word, but it did do pretty good.

The next step will be to get things working well enough that I can record things in the audio recorder while walking around and then later transcribe them into the computer with the software.


  1. As one of your blog "students" thank you for sharing all your outstanding research and retirement planning reflections with us in 2012, and good luck on your new position in 2013. Heres hoping your new duties still allow you time to continue sharing with us your invaluable contributions. may 2013 be a very happy one for you and your family


    1. Derek,

      Thank you very much and a happy new year to you too. I do hope that my new position will allow me more time to specialize on retirement topics!

  2. I saw the Dragon commercial on TV the other night and "vibe" I got was that the marketers were overhyping the Sham Wow. Good to see there will be a credible review.


    1. Being in Japan, I haven't seen any commercials. I've just heard buzz from time to time.

      What I was really hoping to do was to record into a Dragon approved digital recorder and then have the software transcribe it at my leisure. Thus far, though, I have to give it a 0/10 for that. I hope I can figure out how to improve it.

      In the past, I have tried dictating with a microphone using Windows built-in software, but I found that it made too many mistakes to be usable. Dragon does appear to be an improvement and may at least help improve productivity when I can sit at the computer and "write" things up by speaking.

  3. I'm very happy you'll be coming to the Philadelphia area! I've already put in a request to take courses on a noncredit basis. (I already have one PhD, and at 55 I don't want to go through another full treatment.)

    Dragon seems to work well, and I respect your experiment of leaving the text au naturel, but ... what's "research that grips"? (2nd full paragraph)


    1. Thanks, it should be "at GRIPS" and GRIPS is the shorter name of my university in Tokyo.

  4. Wade, for transcribing a recorded presentation or interview, I don't think you're going to having very good luck with Dragon, but I've done this very succesfully using Amazon's Mechanical Turk ( You have to pay for each transcription, but it's inexpensive (about 30 cents per minute or less) and the quality is excellent.

    1. Matthew,

      Thank you. I may try that out and take advantage of geographic differences in wage rates.

      Hope you are having happy holidays!

      Though it will be a brief trip, both Michael Kitces and I will be in Seattle on February 15. We should look to the possibility of meeting up.

      Best wishes, Wade