Academic research sometimes seems like an intellectual pursuit disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. However, insights from economics, finance, and behavioral science have important implications to help individuals with many of the key economic decisions they make throughout their lives, such as buying a house, saving for retirement, or taking on personal debt. How can we accelerate the transition from academic research to real world applications outside the ivory tower? The talk will provide examples of how research can be applied and scaled up through financial innovations and smarter regulations. This lecture might be especially interesting for those who feel the appeal of an academic career but also want to have an impact on our society.