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How Household Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: The Effect Of Aging And Health Shocks

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  • Courtney Coile
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

We study how the portfolios of U.S. households evolve after retirement, using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). In particular, we investigate the influence of aging and health shocks on a household's ownership of various assets and on the share of total assets held in each asset class. We find that households decrease their ownership of principal residences, vehicles, financial assets, businesses, and real estate as they age, while increasing the share of assets held in liquid assets and time deposits. We find that widowhood and other health shocks are associated with the same kinds of portfolio changes, and that the effect of shocks strengthens with time since the shock. Finally, we show that the effect of a shock is greatly magnified when households have physical or mental impairments. This suggests that factors other than standard risk and return considerations weigh heavily in many older households' portfolio decisions. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Courtney Coile & Kevin Milligan, 2009. "How Household Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: The Effect Of Aging And Health Shocks," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 226-248, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:55:y:2009:i:2:p:226-248
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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