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Optimizing the Retirement Portfolio: Asset Allocation, Annuitization, and Risk Aversion

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  • Wolfram J. Horneff
  • Raimond Maurer
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Ivica Dus

Abstract

Retirees must draw down their accumulated assets in an orderly fashion so as not to exhaust their funds too soon. We derive the optimal retirement portfolio from a menu that includes payout annuities as well as an investment allocation and a withdrawal strategy, assuming risk aversion, stochastic capital markets, and uncertain lifetimes. The resulting portfolio allocation, when fixed as of retirement, is then compared to phased withdrawal strategies such a %u201Cself-annuitization%u201D plan or the 401(k) %u201Cdefault%u201D pattern encouraged under US tax law. Surprisingly, the fixed percentage approach proves appealing for retirees across a wide range of risk preferences, supporting financial planning advisors who often recommend this rule. We then permit the retiree to switch to an annuity later, which gives her the chance to invest in the capital market and %u201Cbet on death.%u201D As risk aversion rises, annuities first crowd out bonds in retiree portfolios; at higher risk aversion still, annuities replace equities in the portfolio. Making annuitization compulsory can also lead to substantial utility losses for less risk-averse investors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12392.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12392

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  1. John F. Cogan & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2003. "Perspectives from the President's Commission on Social Security Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 149-172, Spring.
  2. Albrecht, Peter & Maurer, Raimond, 2001. "Self-Annuitization, Ruin Risk in Retirement and Asset Allocation: The Annuity Benchmark," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 01-35, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universit├Ąt Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  3. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, . "The Role of Real Annuities and Indexed Bonds In An Individual Accounts Retirement Program," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
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  10. Dus, Ivica & Maurer, Raimond H. & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2004. "Betting on death and capital markets in retirement: A shortfall risk analysis of life annuities versus phased withdrawal plans," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/01, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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  16. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities," NBER Working Papers 11271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wei Sun & Robert K. Triest & Anthony Webb, 2007. "Optimal retirement asset decumulation strategies: the impact of housing wealth," Public Policy Discussion Paper 07-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Wolfram J. Horneff & Raimond H. Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell & Michael Z. Stamos, 2007. "Money in Motion: Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Retirement," NBER Working Papers 12942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pang, Gaobo & Warshawsky, Mark, 2010. "Optimizing the equity-bond-annuity portfolio in retirement: The impact of uncertain health expenses," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 198-209, February.
  4. Ferro, Gustavo, 2008. "On annuities: an overview of the issues," MPRA Paper 20209, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2009.
  5. Olivia S. Mitchell & John Piggott & Michael Sherris & Shaun Yow, 2006. "Financial Innovation for an Aging World," NBER Working Papers 12444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ferro, Gustavo, 2008. "Un impulso al mercado de rentas vitalicias en Espa├▒a
    [Promoting the annuities market in Spain]
    ," MPRA Paper 20211, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2008.

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