Investments and savings expert Dr. Zvi Bodie on how the coronavirus crisis exposed long-standing faults in our retirement system—and how to fix them. Retirement now seems a lot further off. The economic crisis sparked by COVID-19 lockdowns has decimated many retirement and pension plans—years of investments and gains disappearing with the stock market’s collapse. Millions, newly unemployed, have other, more immediate, financial priorities than saving. A professor emeritus of finance, Bodie continues to consult and share his expertise to help investors dig savings plans out of deep holes—and ensure they can withstand future crises. He is a frequent media presence—in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, and others—speaking about retirement and investments. We will speak with Dr. Bodie about what all of us, no matter our life stage, should be doing with our retirement funds today—and whether we should rethink how we save for retirement in the future.
Zvi Bodie is an independent educator, writer, speaker, and consultant on finance and the financial system. He is also Professor Emeritus at Boston University where he taught from 1972 to 2013. He has published widely on pension finance and investment strategy in leading professional journals. Bodie is best known for applying modern financial theory to lifecycle saving and investing. He has popularized the idea of hedging against inflation using series I savings bonds, TIPS, and CPI-linked annuities in defined contribution pension and saving plans. He also has advocated strategies that guarantee a minimum retirement life-long income regardless of the performance of the stock market. He has published books and papers in academic journals and coauthored two textbooks and two books for the mass market. During his long academic career starting in 1970 he directed major research projects for the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Pension Research Council. With the support of the CFA Institute Research Foundation he organized a series of three conferences on the future of lifecycle saving and investing (2006, 2008, 2010), and he edited the resultant conference volumes. Together with Nobel Laureate Robert C. Merton, he has developed a framework for the analysis of financial system design that they call Functional and Structural Finance. FSF is a synthesis of neoclassical, transaction cost, and behavioral theories of finance. It rests on the view that there are six basic functions that a financial system performs and that change very slowly over time and across borders. The institutions that perform these functions change much more quickly and differ across borders.
Bodie's books include Foundations of Pension Finance, Pensions in the U.S. Economy, Issues in Pension Economics, and Financial Aspects of the U.S. Pension System. His textbook, Investments, coauthored with Alex Kane and Alan Marcus is used in all the major business schools around the globe. It has been translated into 10 languages in addition to English. He has also co-authored an introductory textbook Financial Economics with Nobel Laureate in Economics, Robert C. Merton. It has been translated into 9 languages.
He has served on the finance faculty at the Harvard Business School (1992-1994) and MIT Sloan School of Management (2008-9). In 2007 the Retirement Income Industry Association gave Bodie their Lifetime Achievement Award for applied research. And in 2019, the Plan Sponsors Council of America selected him for their lifetime achievement award.
He holds a Ph.D in economics (1975) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a M.A. in Economics (1970) from the Hebrew University, and a B.A. with Honors in Philosophy (1965) from Brooklyn College.
Austin Rosenthal is Head of Platform Defined Contribution and Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors. In his role on the Retirement Distribution team, he is responsible for managing the home office and field relationships with Dimensional’s retirement plan recordkeeper clients.
Prior to joining Dimensional in 2010, Austin worked at Lincoln Financial Group in a variety of sales, strategy, product management, and innovation roles. He also was a member of the investment committee for Lincoln's defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Before joining Lincoln Financial, Austin was a managing director of the team that built SmartNest at Integrated Finance Limited. He started his career in JPMorgan's investment banking organization, ending up as an associate focusing on mergers and acquisitions and raising capital.
Austin earned a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated summa cum laude. He is a General Securities Principal and registered rep with FINRA and holds Series 7, 24, 63, and 65 licenses. He is also a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM.