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The theory of life-cycle saving and investing

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  • Zvi Bodie
  • Jonathan Treussard
  • Paul Willen

Abstract

How much should a family save for retirement and for the kids’ college education? How much insurance should they buy? How should they allocate their portfolio across different assets? What should a company choose as the default asset allocation for a mandatory retirement saving plan? We believe that the life-cycle model developed by economists over the last fifty years provides guidance for making such decisions. The theory teaches us to view financial assets as vehicles for transferring resources across different times and outcomes over the life cycle, and that perspective allows households and planners to think about their decisions in a logical and rigorous way. This paper lays out and illustrates the basic analytical framework from the theory in nonmathematical terms, with the aim of providing guidance to financial service providers, consumers, and policymakers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Public Policy Discussion Paper with number 07-3.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:07-3

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Keywords: Saving and investment;

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References

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  1. Detemple, Jérôme & Garcia, René & Rindisbacher, Marcel, 2005. "Intertemporal asset allocation: A comparison of methods," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 2821-2848, November.
  2. John Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2002. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 47, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Dybvig, Philip H, 1995. "Dusenberry's Ratcheting of Consumption: Optimal Dynamic Consumption and Investment Given Intolerance for Any Decline in Standard of Living," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 287-313, April.
  4. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
  5. He, Hua & Pages, Henri F, 1993. "Labor Income, Borrowing Constraints, and Equilibrium Asset Prices," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 663-96, October.
  6. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  7. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
  8. Zvi Bodie & Robert C. Merton & William F. Samuelson, 1992. "Labor Supply Flexibility and Portfolio Choice in a Life-Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 3954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nicole El Karoui & Monique Jeanblanc-Picqué, 1998. "Optimization of consumption with labor income," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 409-440.
  10. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
  11. Jérôme B. Detemple & René Garcia & Marcel Rindisbacher, 2000. "A Monte-Carlo Method for Optimal Portfolios," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-05, CIRANO.
  12. Fischer, Stanley, 1975. "The Demand for Index Bonds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 509-34, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Keith Ambachtsheer, 2008. "The Canada Supplementary Pension Plan (CSPP): Towards an Adequate, Affordable Pension for All Canadians (also available in French)," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 265, May.
  2. Doriana Ruffino, 2014. "Resuscitating Businessman Risk: A Rationale for Familiarity-Based Portfolios," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 107-130, January.
  3. Doriana Ruffino, 2007. "Resuscitating The Businessman Risk: A Rationale For Familiarity-Based Portfolios," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-037, Boston University - Department of Economics.

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