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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 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. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2008. "Are All Americans Saving ‘Optimally’ for Retirement?," Working Papers wp189, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. 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.
  3. Wise, David Alsgaard & Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F., 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," Scholarly Articles 4677548, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Makoto Nakajima & Irina A. Telyukova, 2011. "Home equity withdrawal in retirement," Working Papers 11-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Pashchenko, Svetlana, 2013. "Accounting for non-annuitization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 53-67.
  9. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

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