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Health and Wealth in Early Retirement

  • Geoffrey L. Wallace
  • Robert Haveman
  • Karen Holden
  • Barbara Wolfe

Retirement years are a precarious time for many older Americans. Even if successful in accumulating resources expected to be sufficient to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living, many retirees face unexpected adverse health shocks after retirement. Because of the uncertainty of shocks to physical and cognitive health, there exists the potential for significant deterioration in resource adequacy both at the time of retirement and into the retirement years due to their occurrence. In this study, we select a sample of new retirees constructed from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data and follow them during the first decade of their retirement. Using these data, we identify the nature of shocks to physical and cognitive health for which individuals are at risk during their retirement years, and estimate both the absolute and relative risk of these shocks. We then estimate the impact of the occurrence of these shocks on wealth-based measures of retirement adequacy.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 669.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:669
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  1. 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.
  2. Robert Haveman & Karen Holden & Barbara Wolfe & Andrei Romanov, 2005. "Assessing the Maintenance of Savings Sufficiency Over the First Decade of Retirement," CESifo Working Paper Series 1567, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Courtney Coile & Kevin Milligan, 2006. "How Household Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: The Effect of Aging and Health Shocks," NBER Working Papers 12391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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