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The trajectory of wealth in retirement

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Author Info

  • 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 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2008-13.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-13

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Keywords: Retirement income ; Life expectancy;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Motohiro Yogo, 2009. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," NBER Working Papers 15307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pashchenko, Svetlana, 2012. "Accounting for non-annuitization," MPRA Paper 42792, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Irina Telyukova & Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Home Equity Withdrawal in Retirement," 2010 Meeting Papers 636, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," NBER Working Papers 16675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Why do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," NBER Working Papers 15149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2008. "Are All Americans Saving ‘Optimally’ for Retirement?," Working Papers wp189, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  9. Simon Rottke & Alexander Klos, 2013. "Savings and Consumption When Children Move Out," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 621, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

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