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Life-cycle asset accumulation and allocation in Canada


  • Kevin Milligan


This paper documents the life-cycle patterns of household portfolios in Canada, and investigates several hypotheses about asset accumulation and allocation. Inferences are drawn from the 1999 Survey of Financial Security, with some comparisons to earlier wealth surveys from 1977 and 1984. I find cross-sectional evidence for asset decumulation at older ages when annuitized assets like pension wealth are included in the analysis. I also find that the portfolio share of financial assets increases sharply with age, while indicators of risk tolerance appear to decrease. This is consistent with families' desiring more liquid and less risky assets as they age.

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  • Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Life-cycle asset accumulation and allocation in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 1057-1106, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:38:y:2005:i:3:p:1057-1106

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    Cited by:

    1. Katchova, Ani L., 2005. "A Comparison of Farm and Nonfarm Households," Proceedings: 2005 Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition,October 3-4, 2005; Minneapolis, Minnesota 132757, Regional Research Committee NC-1014: Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition.
    2. Huang, Huaxiong & Milevsky, Moshe A., 2016. "Longevity risk and retirement income tax efficiency: A location spending rate puzzle," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 50-62.
    3. Isik U. Zeytinoglu & Margaret Denton, 2006. "Satisfied Workers, Retained Workers: Effects of Work and Work Environment on Homecare Workers' Job Satisfaction, Stress, Physical Health, and Retention," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 166, McMaster University.
    4. Tammy Schirle, 2008. "Why Have the Labor Force Participation Rates of Older Men Increased since the Mid-1990s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 549-594, October.
    5. Daniel Béland, 2006. "What Ownership Society: Debating Housing and Social Security Reform in the United States," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 150, McMaster University.
    6. Stephen Birch & George Kephart & Gail Tomblin-Murphy & Linda O'Brien-Pallas & Rob Alder & Adrian MacKenzie, 2007. "Health human resources planning and the production of health: Development of an extended analytical framework for needs-based health human resources planning," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 168, McMaster University.
    7. Richard Ochmann, 2014. "Differential income taxation and household asset allocation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(8), pages 880-894, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Michael P. Keane & Susan Thorp, 2016. "Complex Decision Making: The Roles of Cognitive Limitations, Cognitive Decline and Ageing," Economics Papers 2016-W10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    10. Margaret Denton & Linda Boos, 2007. "Gender Inequality in the Wealth of Older Canadians," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 169, McMaster University.
    11. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_661 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Martin Gervais & Manish Pandey, 2008. "Who Cares About Mortgage Interest Deductibility?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-24, March.
    13. Livio Di Matteo, 2016. "Wealth Distribution and the Canadian Middle Class: Historical Evidence and Policy Implications," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 42(2), pages 132-151, June.
    14. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hildebrand, Vincent A., 2008. "The Asset Portfolios of Native-Born and Foreign-Born Households," IZA Discussion Papers 3304, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. 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.
    16. Kevin Milligan, 2008. "The Evolution of Elderly Poverty in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(s1), pages 79-94, November.
    17. Anders, Sven M., 2010. "Ageing And Consumption – The Impact Of Demographic Change On Food Expenditure Patterns," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116442, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    18. Katchova, Ani L., 2006. "The Economic Well-Being of Farm and Nonfarm Households: Evidence from Two National Surveys," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21401, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    19. Sule Alan, 2004. "Precautionary Wealth and Portfolio Allocation: Evidence from Canadian Microdata," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 117, McMaster University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions


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