Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Retirement and Wealth

Contents:

Author Info

  • Alan L. Gustman

    (Dartmouth College and NBER)

  • Thomas L. Steinmeier

    (Texas Tech University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between retirement and wealth. In a simple model where the only heterogeneity is in leisure preference, other things the same, those who retire early accumulate more wealth while still working, enabling them to support themselves over their longer retirement period. Moreover, characteristics that encourage earlier retirement also encourage additional saving. If there were heterogeneity in both leisure and time preference, however, this simple relation is broken. Early retirees do not necessarily save more. Using data from the first four waves of the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study, a cohort of individuals born from 1931 to 1941, we estimate reduced form retirement and wealth equations. Linked employer provided pension plan descriptions and social security administrative records are central to the analysis. The value of the pension and social security beyond current period accrual is measured by the difference between the present value of the benefit stream resulting from additional work until the date of retirement and the present value of a stream of benefits equal each year to the value of benefit accrual in the initial period. This measure, which we call the premium value, captures any excess value from the spikes at early and normal retirement age in a defined benefit plan. But it also has zero value in the case of a defined contribution plan. Calculating benefit increments on the assumption that benefits are claimed as soon as eligible after retiring, and that respondents link delayed benefit claiming with delayed retirement, the estimated retirement equation indicates that a higher future reward from pensions and social security encourages postponed retirement. Factors leading to early retirement do not systematically generate higher saving. Many independent variables do not have symmetric effects in the retirement and wealth equations. Unobservables from the retirement and wealth equations are only weakly correlated. A related finding, not easily reconciled with a simple life cycle model of saving, is that higher pension wealth and social security wealth do not substitute for other forms of wealth, but add to total wealth. In addition, other findings support a more complicated view of the underlying behavior. Most importantly, despite a significant payoff to waiting, retirees do not time the acceptance of their social security benefits so as to maximize expected value. Most respondents take their social security benefits as soon as eligible after retirement. This raises questions about the way social security and pensions are calculated as explanatory variables in reduced form retirement equations. These and other findings, e.g., on measuring retirement and on the role of partial retirement, raise doubts about the value of using reduced form retirement equations to estimate the effects of changing such social security policies as the early retirement age. Reduced form retirement equations must be used with great caution in situations where they are analyzing new policy initiatives. Unobserved heterogeneity interacts with observable variables to produce the estimated coefficients in these equations, but these interactions are not necessarily the same if the policy changes in new ways.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp002.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp002.

as in new window
Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp002

Contact details of provider:
Postal: P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 615-0422
Fax: (734) 647-4575
Email:
Web page: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/papers/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Feldstein, Martin & Samwick, Andrew A., 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, March.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Andrew A. Samwick & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1997. "Pension and Social Security Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 5912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Coile, Courtney & Diamond, Peter & Gruber, Jonathan & Jousten, Alain, 2002. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 357-385, June.
  5. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & F. Thomas Juster, 1995. "Income and Wealth of Older American Households: Modeling Issues for Public Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  8. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
  9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1981. "Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "New developments in the economic analysis of retirement," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 49, pages 3261-3307 Elsevier.
  11. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  12. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1998. "Effects of Pensions on Saving: Analysis with Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 6681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Alan Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, . "Retirement Measures in the Health and Retirement Survey," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions, The Option Value of Work, and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 2686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kahn, James A., 1988. "Social security, liquidity, and early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 97-117, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. MacDonald, Bonnie-Jeanne & Cairns, Andrew J.G., 2011. "Three retirement decision models for defined contribution pension plan members: A simulation study," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-18, January.
  2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The Social Security Early Entitlement Age in a Structural Model of Retirement and Wealth," Working Papers wp029, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Stefan Hochguertel, 2010. "Self-Employment around Retirement Age," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-067/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Owen O'Donnell & Federica Teppa & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2008. "Can subjective survival expectations explain retirement behaviour?," DNB Working Papers 188, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  5. Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens, 2003. "What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision Making," NBER Working Papers 10185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rudolph G. Penner & Richard W. Johnson, 2006. "Health Care Costs, Taxes, and the Retirement Decision: Conceptual Issues and Illustrative Simulation," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-20, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2006.
  7. Purvi Sevak, 2002. "Wealth Shocks and Retirement Timing: Evidence from the Nineties," Working Papers wp027, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp002. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MRRC Administrator).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.