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The Composition and Draw-down of Wealth in Retirement

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Author Info

  • James M. Poterba
  • Steven F. Venti
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

This paper presents evidence on the resources available to households as they enter retirement. It draws heavily on data collected by the Health and Retirement Study and calculates the "potential additional annuity income" that households could purchase, given their holdings of non-annuitized financial assets at the start of retirement. Even if households used all of their financial assets inside and outside personal retirement accounts to purchase a life annuity, only 47 percent of households between the ages of 65 and 69 in 2008 could increase their life-contingent income by more than $5,000 per year. At the upper end of the wealth distribution, however, a substantial number of households could make large annuity purchases. The paper also considers the role of housing equity in the portfolios of retirement-age households, and explores the extent to which households draw down housing equity and financial assets as they age. Many households appear to treat housing equity and non-annuitized financial assets as “precautionary savings,” tending to draw them down only when they experience a shock such as the death of a spouse or a period of substantial medical outlays. Because home equity is often conserved until very late in life, for many households it may provide some insurance against the risk of living longer than expected.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17536.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17536

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Ahorro para el Retiro y Pensiones
    by Alejandro Villagomez in Tintero Económico Diario on 2012-04-23 02:17:00
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Cited by:
  1. Donnelly, Catherine & Guillén, Montserrat & Nielsen, Jens Perch, 2014. "Bringing cost transparency to the life annuity market," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 14-27.
  2. Mark Huggett and Greg Kaplan, 2012. "The Money Value of a Man," Working Papers gueconwpa~12-12-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Davoine, Thomas, 2012. "Time constraints, saving and old age," Economics Working Paper Series 1221, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  4. Alexandra Spicer & Olena Stavrunova & Susan Thorp, 2013. "How Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: Evidence from Australia," CAMA Working Papers 2013-40, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  5. James M. Poterba, 2014. "Retirement Security in an Aging Society," NBER Working Papers 19930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Renuka Sane & Susan Thomas, 2013. "In search of inclusion: informal sector participation in a voluntary, defined contribution pension system," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2013-022, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  7. Davies, James B. & Yu, Xiaoyu, 2013. "Impacts of Cyclical Downturns on the Third Pillar of the RIS and Policy Responses," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-20, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.

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