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Life Tomorrow

About AgeLab

Director, Joseph F. Coughlin

Joe CoughlinDirector, AgeLab

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room E40-279
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Telephone: 617.253.4978
Fax: 617.258.7570
E-mail Joseph F. Coughlin

Personal Website

Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D. is Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. His research examines how the disruptive demographics of an aging society, social trends and technology will shape future innovations in business and government. Coughlin teaches policy and systems innovation in MIT's Engineering Systems Division and has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications and reports.

Current research questions:

  • How does online information seeking, use of social media and elements of behavioral finance (framing & anchoring) affect retirement planning and health engagement across the lifespan?
  • What is the future of advice and are there generational differences in how professional advice is used in financial planning, retail, health, and housing decisions to age-in-place or move?
  • How might the needs of a multigenerational workforce affect workplace productivity and engagement? 
  • What are the opportunities for innovative design, new products & services, e.g., wellness services, smart home monitoring & maintenance, specialized foods, retail services, communications and financing to support caregiving and healthy aging - and what strategies will be necessary to ensure their adoption?
  • What are emerging models of housing, community design and transportation that will contribute to age-ready livable communities?

Dr. Coughlin has advised numerous governments, the World Economic Forum, OECD, and the Council on Foreign Relations and is a Fellow of Switzerland's World Demographics & Ageing Forum. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the White House Advisory Committee on Aging and has testified before Congress, the National Transportation Safety Board and addressed the National Governors Association. 

A Behavioral Sciences Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, Dr. Coughlin works extensively with leading companies translating insights in consumer behavior and decision-making into business innovation. Selected firms include AARP, Banco Bradesco, BMW, BNP Paribas, British Telecom, Bupa, CVS, Daimler, Fidelity Investments, Generali, Hartford Mutual Funds, Healthways, Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Natixis, Nissan, NTT, Putnam Investments, SunTrust, Telecom Italia, TIAA-CREF, Toyota, United Health.

His research and collaboration with industry has earned him recognition as one of Fast Company Magazine’s100 Most Creative People in Business’ and the Wall Street Journal has called him one of “12 pioneers who are changing your retirement." Money Magazine recently featured him as a Retirement Game Changer. Coughlin is frequently interviewed by the Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Straights Times and other business and technology publications. He has appeared on national and global newscasts including ABC, BBC, Globo Brasil, CBC, CBS, CNN, Japan's NHK, NBC and NPR.

Recent lectures & keynote addresses:

He is the author of the on-line publication Disruptive Demographics and a contributor to Huffington Post Bank Investment Consultant and Wall Street Journal MarketWatch RetireMentors.

Recent articles on Disruptive Demographic BigThink.com, WSJ/MarketWatch & Huffington Post Science:

His full bio may be found on his personal website (here)