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Outstanding Debt and the Household Portfolio

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  • Thomas A. Becker

Abstract

This article examines the effect of household debt on investment decisions. We alter a simple portfolio choice model to allow households to retire outstanding debt and realize a risk-free rate of return equal to the interest rate on that debt. Using the Survey of Consumer Finances, we find that households with mortgage debt are 10% less likely to own stocks and 37% less likely to own bonds compared to similar households with no mortgage debt. We calculate the costs of nonoptimal investment in the presence of various forms of household debt. We find that 26% of households should forgo equity market participation on account of the high interest rates they pay on their debt. The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A. Becker, 2010. "Outstanding Debt and the Household Portfolio," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(7), pages 2900-2934, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:23:y:2010:i:7:p:2900-2934
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    1. repec:cuf:journl:y:2017:v:18:i:1:zhaoli is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Sousa, Ricardo M., 2016. "Consumption, wealth, stock and housing returns: Evidence from emerging markets," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, pages 562-578.
    3. Tabner, Isaac T., 2016. "Buying versus renting – Determinants of the net present value of home ownership for individual households," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 233-246.
    4. Tracey West & Andrew Worthington, 2014. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Australian Financial Risk Attitudes, 2001–2010," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 263-277, June.
    5. Hyytinen, Ari & Putkuri, Hanna, 2012. "Household optimism and borrowing," Research Discussion Papers 21/2012, Bank of Finland.
    6. Ghysels, Eric & Plazzi, Alberto & Valkanov, Rossen & Torous, Walter, 2013. "Forecasting Real Estate Prices," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    7. Weiou Wu & Apostolos Fasianos & Stephen Kinsella, 2015. "Differences in Borrowing Behaviour between Core and Peripheral Economies — Economic Environment versus Financial Perceptions," Working Papers 201516, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    8. Zhou, Jie, 2012. "Life-cycle stock market participation in taxable and tax-deferred accounts," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 1814-1829.
    9. Mary Eschelbach Hansen & Julie Routzahn, 2014. "Gender Differences in Attitudes Toward Debt and Financial Position: The Impact of the Great Recession," Working Papers 2014-10, American University, Department of Economics.

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