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Visualizing Uncertainty in Retirement Planning August 27, 2020

Visualizing Uncertainty in Retirement Planning

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Photo of Kimberlee Cloutier-Blazzard

Written by

Kimberlee Cloutier-Blazzard

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☕ Cantina Coffee Chat is a series we’ve developed to share knowledge about a variety of topics in innovation, design, and technology. It provides an interactive platform for hosting conversations between folks from inside Cantina as well as with outside thought leaders. We are excited to use this venue for starting a dialogue and helping others. We hope you enjoy the exchange.

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In episode six, Michael Novak and Matt Stuehler from Cantina’s Financial Services Practice discuss the concept of uncertainty in retirement planning experiences using data visualizations. Many online retirement planning experiences feature retirement income and goal forecasts. Forecasts, however, are by definition uncertain, and how plan managers deal with and communicate that uncertainty varies. Captured below are three takeaways from the conversation:

  • Current data visualization in FinTech appears overly precise to users, increasing their pessimism about their retirement savings
  • Most people don’t like the use of percentages when considering their savings goals, but prefer fractions (for example, “2 in 3 people” versus “66.7%”)
  • When humans are incentivized for making decisions, outcomes are demonstrably optimized

If you’d like to connect with Michael or Matt, let us know. We are offering a limited number of complimentary remote workshops if you or your team are looking to innovate your approach to Financial Services and data visualization. Please reach out at if interested. We can customize the workshop for you, and if you’d like to do your workshop on another topic, we can do that too!


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