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The Retirement‐Savings Puzzle Reviewed: The Role Of Housing And Bequests


  • Eduard Suari‐Andreu
  • Rob Alessie
  • Viola Angelini


The so‐called retirement‐savings puzzle is a phenomenon by which, contrary to what the standard life‐cycle model predicts, households do not run down their wealth significantly during retirement. In this review paper, we survey the literature on the retirement‐savings puzzle and we connect it with the literature on housing equity during retirement. To establish a link between these two streams of literature, we use as a framework the work of Nakajima and Telyukova (2013a, Home equity in retirement, UCSD Working Paper) and Nakajima and Telyukova (2017, Reverse mortgage loans: a quantitative analysis, Journal of Finance 72: 911–950), who find that home‐ownership interacts with factors that explain the retirement‐savings puzzle, notably with the bequest motive. We complement the results by Nakajima and Telyukova by relating them to the literature on altruistic bequests, strategic bequests and housing as a commitment device, all of which give further insights on the connection between home‐ownership and bequests. We complement our review of the literature with descriptive evidence using the Netherlands as a case study.

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  • Eduard Suari‐Andreu & Rob Alessie & Viola Angelini, 2019. "The Retirement‐Savings Puzzle Reviewed: The Role Of Housing And Bequests," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 195-225, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:33:y:2019:i:1:p:195-225
    DOI: 10.1111/joes.12257

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    Cited by:

    1. GLUMAC Brano & CABALLE FABRA Gemma, 2018. "Housing in a Mobile World: A Definition of Flexible Housing and the Classification of Solutions," LISER Working Paper Series 2018-16, LISER.
    2. Makoto Nakajima & Irina A. Telyukova, 2020. "Home Equity In Retirement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 61(2), pages 573-616, May.

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