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Optimal retirement asset decumulation strategies: the impact of housing wealth

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  • Wei Sun
  • Robert K. Triest
  • Anthony Webb

Abstract

A considerable literature examines the optimal decumulation of financial wealth in retirement. We extend this line of research to incorporate housing, which comprises the majority of most households’ non-pension wealth. ; We estimate the relationship between the returns on housing, stocks, and bonds, and simulate a variety of decumulation strategies incorporating reverse mortgages. We show that homeowner’s reversionary interest, the amount that can be borrowed through a reverse mortgage, is a surprisingly risky asset. Under our baseline assumptions we find that the average household would be as much as 24 percent better off taking a reverse mortgage as a lifetime income relative to what appears to be the most common strategy: delaying tapping housing wealth until financial wealth is exhausted and then taking a line of credit. In addition, the results show that housing wealth displaces bonds in optimal portfolios, making the low rate of participation in the stock market even more of a puzzle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Public Policy Discussion Paper with number 07-2.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:07-2

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Keywords: Retirement income;

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  1. Olivia S. Mitchell & James F. Moore, . "Retirement Wealth Accumulation and Decumulation: New Developments and Outstanding Opportunities," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-8, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Wolfram Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia Mitchell & Ivica Dus, 2006. "Optimizing the Retirement Portfolio: Asset Allocation, Annuitization, and Risk Aversion," Working Papers wp124, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Shiller Robert J., 2006. "Long-Term Perspectives on the Current Boom in Home Prices," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-11, March.
  4. Joseph Gyourko & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2006. "Superstar Cities," NBER Working Papers 12355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look," NBER Working Papers 8608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Blake, David & Cairns, Andrew J. G. & Dowd, Kevin, 2003. "Pensionmetrics 2: stochastic pension plan design during the distribution phase," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 29-47, August.
  7. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities," NBER Working Papers 11271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dus, Ivica & Maurer, Raimond H. & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2004. "Betting on death and capital markets in retirement: A shortfall risk analysis of life annuities versus phased withdrawal plans," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/01, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," NBER Working Papers 2506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. N. Gregory Mankiw & David N. Weil, 1990. "The Baby Boom, The Baby Bust, and the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 2794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "Aging and the Income Value of Housing Wealth," NBER Working Papers 3547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alicia H. Munnell & Mauricio Soto, 2006. "What Replacement Rates Do Households Actually Experience In Retirement?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2005-10, Center for Retirement Research.
  13. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Dushi, Irena & Webb, Anthony, 2004. "Household annuitization decisions: simulations and empirical analyses," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 109-143, July.
  15. Albrecht, Peter & Maurer, Raimond, 2001. "Self-Annuitization, Ruin Risk in Retirement and Asset Allocation: The Annuity Benchmark," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 01-35, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  16. Sally R. Merrill & Meryl Finkel & Nandinee K. Kutty, 1994. "Potential Beneficiaries from Reverse Mortgage Products for Elderly Homeowners: An Analysis of American Housing Survey Data," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 257-299.
  17. Sarin, Rakesh K. & Weber, Martin, 1993. "Risk-value models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 135-149, October.
  18. Lina Walker, 2004. "Elderly Households and Housing Wealth: Do They Use It or Lose It?," Working Papers wp070, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  19. David Blake & Andrew J. G. Cairns & Kevin Dowd, 2003. "Pensionmetrics 2: stochastic pension plan design during the distribution phase," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24830, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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Cited by:
  1. Gregorio Impavido & Esperanza Lasagabaster & Manuel Garcia-Huitron, 2010. "New Policies for Mandatory Defined Contribution Pensions : Industrial Organization Models and Investment Products," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2462, March.
  2. Jonathan Skinner, 2007. "Are You Sure You're Saving Enough for Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 12981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Blake, David & Cairns, Andrew & Dowd, Kevin, 2008. "Turning pension plans into pension planes: What investment strategy designers of defined contribution pension plans can learn from commercial aircraft designers," MPRA Paper 33749, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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