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What is an Adequate Standard of Living during Retirement?

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  • Johannes Binswanger
  • Daniel Schunk

Abstract

Many economists and policy-makers argue that households do not save enough to maintain an adequate standard of living during retirement. However, there is no consensus on the answer to the underlying question about what this standard should be, despite the fact that it is crucial for the design of saving incentives and pension systems. We address this question with a randomized survey design, individually tailored to each respondent’s financial situation, and conducted both in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Key findings include the following. Adequate levels of retirement spending exceed 80 percent of working life spending for a majority of respondents. Minimum acceptable replacement rates depend strongly on income. Households in the Netherlands are much more risk averse than U.S. households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2893.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2893

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Related research

Keywords: : life cycle preferences; pension reform; replacement rates; retirement saving; cross-country survey studies;

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References

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  1. van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob, 2011. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 449-472, August.
  2. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2008. "How are Preferences Revealed?," NBER Working Papers 13976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2006. "Baby boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and Housing wealth," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/20, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. James Poterba & Joshua Rauh & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2003. "Utility Evaluation of Risk in Retirement Saving Accounts," NBER Working Papers 9892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  7. Arie Kapteyn & Federica Teppa, 2003. "Hypothetical Intertemporal Consumption Choices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C140-C152, March.
  8. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Lifecycle Prices and Production," NBER Working Papers 11601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. " Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-95, March.
  10. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jonathan Skinner, 2007. "Are You Sure You're Saving Enough for Retirement?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 59-80, Summer.
  12. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2000. "How Much Should Americans Be Saving for Retirement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 288-292, May.
  13. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  14. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 167-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  16. Binswanger, Johannes, 2007. "Risk management of pensions from the perspective of loss aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 641-667, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christian Dudel & Notburga Ott & Martin Werding, 2013. "Maintaining One's Living Standard at Old Age - What Does That Mean?: Evidence Using Panel Data from Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 563, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2011. "Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning, and Household Wealth," CeRP Working Papers 119, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  3. van Rooij, Maarten C.J. & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J.M., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in the Netherlands," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 593-608, August.
  4. Thomas Crossley & Jochem de Bresser & Liam Delaney & Joachim Winter, 2014. "Can survey participation alter household saving behavior?," IFS Working Papers W14/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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