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Family Status Transitions, Latent Health, and the Post-Retirement Evolution of Assets

In: Explorations in the Economics of Aging

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  • James M. Poterba
  • Steven F. Venti
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

We consider the evolution of assets after retirement. We ask whether total assets--including housing equity, personal retirement accounts, and other financial assets--tend to be husbanded for a rainy day and drawn down primarily at the time of precipitating shocks, or whether they are drawn down throughout the retirement period. We focus on the relationships between family status transitions, "latent" health status, and the evolution of assets. Our analysis is based primarily on longitudinal data from the HRS and AHEAD cohorts of the Health and Retirement Study. We find that the evolution of assets is strongly related to family status transitions. For both single individuals and married couples who do not experience a death or divorce, total assets increase well into old age. In contrast, individuals in married couples that experience a family status transition, either a death or a divorce, exhibit much slower asset growth and often experience a large decline in asset values at the time of the transition. In addition, the level and evolution of assets is very strongly related to health, measured by a latent health index. For example, for continuing two-person HRS households between the ages of 56 and 61 in 1992 the ratio of assets of households in the top health quintile to the assets of those in the bottom quintile was 1.7 in 1992. It had increased to 2.2 by the end of 2006.
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Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Family Status Transitions, Latent Health, and the Post-Retirement Evolution of Assets," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 23-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11931
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Susann Rohwedder & Steven J. Haider & Michael D. Hurd, 2006. "INCREASES IN WEALTH AMONG THE ELDERLY IN THE EARLY 1990s: HOW MUCH IS DUE TO SURVEY DESIGN?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(4), pages 509-524, December.
    3. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Zoë Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2010. "Housing Price Volatility and Downsizing in Later Life," NBER Chapters,in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 337-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Daniel H. Hill, 2006. "Wealth dynamics: reducing noise in panel data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 845-860.
    5. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2004. "On the distribution and dynamics of health care costs," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 705-721.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Shimizutani, Satoshi & Fujii, Mayu & Oshio, Takashi, 2012. "Option Value of Work, Health Status, and Retirement Decisions: New Evidence from the Japanese Study on Aging and Retirement (JSTAR)," CIS Discussion paper series 566, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Matthias Keese & Annika Meng & Reinhold Schnabel, 2010. "Are You Well Prepared for Long-term Care? – Assessing Financial Gaps in Private German Care Provision," Ruhr Economic Papers 0203, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. FUJII Mayu & OSHIO Takashi & SHIMIZUTANI Satoshi, 2012. "Self-Rated Health Status of the Japanese and Europeans in Later Life: Evidence from JSTAR and SHARE," Discussion papers 12061, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 2017. "The asset cost of poor health," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 9(C), pages 172-184.
    5. Satoshi Shimizutani & Takashi Oshio & Mayu Fujii, 2014. "Option Value of Work, Health Status, and Retirement Decisions in Japan: Evidence from the Japanese Study on Aging and Retirement (JSTAR)," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 497-535 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Agar Brugiavini & Franco Peracchi, 2014. "Health Status, Disability Insurance, and Incentives to Exit the Labor Force in Italy: Evidence from SHARE," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 411-454 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Wise, David Alsgaard & Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F., 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," Scholarly Articles 4677548, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    8. Geoffrey L. Wallace & Robert Haveman & Karen Holden & Barbara Wolfe, 2012. "Health and Wealth in Early Retirement," CEPR Discussion Papers 669, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2012. "Policy effects in hyperbolic vs. exponential models of consumption and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 465-473.
    10. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "Health, Education, and the Postretirement Evolution of Household Assets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 297-339.
    11. Keese, Matthias & Meng, Annika & Schnabel, Reinhold, 2010. "Are You Well Prepared for Long-term Care? – Assessing Financial Gaps in Private German Care Provision," Ruhr Economic Papers 203, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, Theo & Werker, Bas, 2017. "Health cost risk : A potential solution to the annuity puzzle," Other publications TiSEM 257e76c9-54bb-4103-bd26-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    13. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and AHEAD Cohorts," NBER Chapters,in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:zbw:rwirep:0203 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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