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The theory of life-cycle saving and investing

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Author Info

  • 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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:07-3

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Keywords: Saving and investment;

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References

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  1. He, Hua & Pages, Henri F, 1993. "Labor Income, Borrowing Constraints, and Equilibrium Asset Prices," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 663-96, October.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2003. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," NBER Working Papers 9759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Jér�me B. Detemple & René Garcia & Marcel Rindisbacher, 2003. "A Monte Carlo Method for Optimal Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(1), pages 401-446, 02.
  6. 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.
  7. Fischer, Stanley, 1975. "The Demand for Index Bonds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 509-34, June.
  8. 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.
  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. 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.
  11. 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.
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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, 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.
  3. Doriana Ruffino, 2012. "Resuscitating Businessman Risk: A Rationale for Familiarity-Based Portfolios," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 252, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

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