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Optimal Portfolio Choice with Wage-Indexed Social Security

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  • Jialun Li
  • Kent Smetters

Abstract

This paper re-examines the classic question of how a household should optimally allocate its portfolio between risky stocks and risk-free bonds over its lifecycle. We show that allowing for the wage indexation of social security benefits fundamentally alters the optimal decisions. Moreover, the optimal allocation is close to observed empirical behavior. Households, therefore, do not appear to be making large "mistakes," as sometimes believed. In fact, traditional financial planning advice, as embedded in "target date" funds – whose enormous recent growth has been encouraged by new government policy – often leads to even relatively larger "mistakes" and welfare losses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17025.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17025

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  1. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris & Yaron, Amir, 2002. "Asset pricing with idiosyncratic risk and overlapping generations," Seminar Papers 703, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, 04.
  3. Bertaut, Carol C. & Haliassos, Michael, 1997. "Precautionary portfolio behavior from a life-cycle perspective," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(8-9), pages 1511-1542, June.
  4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
  5. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 76-101, January.
  6. Ian Ayres & Barry J. Nalebuff, 2008. "Life-cycle Investing and Leverage: Buying Stock on Margin Can Reduce Retirement Risk," NBER Working Papers 14094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Fischer, Marcel & Kraft, Holger & Munk, Claus, 2013. "Asset allocation over the life cycle: How much do taxes matter?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2217-2240.
  2. Marekwica, Marcel & Schaefer, Alexander & Sebastian, Steffen, 2013. "Life cycle asset allocation in the presence of housing and tax-deferred investing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1110-1125.

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