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The Trajectory of Wealth in Retirement

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  • David A. Love
  • Michael G. Palumbo
  • Paul A. Smith

Abstract

As the baby boomers begin to retire, a great deal remains unknown about the evolution of wealth toward the end of life. In this paper, we develop a new measure of household resources that converts total financial, nonfinancial, and annuitized assets into an expected annual amount of wealth per person. We use this measure, which we call "annualized comprehensive wealth" to investigate spend-down behavior among older households in the Health and Retirement Study. Our analysis indicates that, in (real) dollar terms, the median household's wealth declines more slowly than its remaining life expectancy, so that real annualized wealth actually tends to rise with age over retirement. Comparing the estimated age profiles for annualized wealth with profiles simulated from several different life cycle models, we find that a model that takes into account uncertain longevity, uncertain medical expenses, and (for higher-income retirees) intended bequests lines up best with the HRS data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2008-7.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision: Feb 2008
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2008-7

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Draw-down of Wealth in Retirement," NBER Working Papers 17536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Motohiro Yogo, 2008. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," 2008 Meeting Papers 63, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Pashchenko, Svetlana, 2012. "Accounting for non-annuitization," MPRA Paper 42792, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, 02.
  5. Karen Smith & Mauricio Soto & Rudolph G. Penner, 2009. "How Seniors Change Their Asset Holdings During Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-31, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2009.
  6. Irina A. Telyukova & Makoto Nakajima, 2011. "Home Equity in Retirement," NFI Working Papers 2011-WP-08B, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute, revised Aug 2011.
  7. Robert Clark & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "How Does Retiree Health Insurance Influence Public Sector Employee Saving?," NBER Working Papers 19511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Makoto Nakajima & Irina A. Telyukova, 2011. "Home equity withdrawal in retirement," Working Papers 11-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Wise, David Alsgaard & Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F., 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," Scholarly Articles 4677548, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  10. Eun Kim & Sherman Hanna & Swarn Chatterjee & Suzanne Lindamood, 2012. "Who Among the Elderly Owns Stocks? The Role of Cognitive Ability and Bequest Motive," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 338-352, September.
  11. Klos, Alexander & Rottke, Simon, 2013. "Saving and Consumption When Children Move Out," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79786, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  12. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2008. "Are All Americans Saving ‘Optimally’ for Retirement?," Working Papers wp189, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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