Portfolio selection with mental accounts and background risk
Das et al. (2010) develop a model where an investor divides his or her wealth among mental accounts with motives such as retirement and bequest. Nevertheless, the investor ends up selecting portfolios within mental accounts and an aggregate portfolio that lie on the mean–variance frontier. Importantly, they assume that the investor only faces portfolio risk. In practice, however, many individuals also face background risk. Accordingly, our paper expands upon theirs by considering the case where the investor faces background risk. Our contribution is threefold. First, we provide an analytical characterization of the existence and composition of the optimal portfolios within accounts and the aggregate portfolio. Second, we show that these portfolios lie away from the mean–variance frontier under fairly general conditions. Third, we find that the composition and location of such portfolios can differ notably from those of portfolios on the mean–variance frontier.
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