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Optimal Retirement Asset Decumulation Strategies: The Impact of Housing Wealth

Author

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  • Wei Sun
  • Robert Triest

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

  • Anthony Webb

    (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College)

Abstract

A considerable literature examines the optimal decumulation of financial wealth in retirement. We extend this line of research to incorporate housing, which comprises the majority of most households’ non-pension wealth. We use VARs to estimate the relationship between the returns on housing, stocks, and bonds, and use simulation techniques to investigate a variety of decumulation strategies incorporating reverse mortgages. Under a wide variety of assumptions, we find that the average household would be as much as 33 percent better off taking a reverse mortgage as a lifetime income relative to what appears to be the most common strategy of delaying until financial wealth is exhausted and then taking a line of credit. It would be as much as 62 percent better off relative to not taking a reverse mortgage at all. Housing wealth displaces bonds in optimal portfolios, making the low rate of participation in the stock market even more of a puzzle.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei Sun & Robert Triest & Anthony Webb, 2006. "Optimal Retirement Asset Decumulation Strategies: The Impact of Housing Wealth," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-22, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2006-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Skinner, 2007. "Are You Sure You're Saving Enough for Retirement?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 59-80, Summer.
    2. Blake, David & Cairns, Andrew & Dowd, Kevin, 2008. "Turning pension plans into pension planes: What investment strategy designers of defined contribution pension plans can learn from commercial aircraft designers," MPRA Paper 33749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. David Blake & Andrew Cairns & Guy Coughlan & Kevin Dowd & Richard MacMinn, 2013. "The New Life Market," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 80(3), pages 501-558, September.
    4. Gregorio Impavido & Esperanza Lasagabaster & Manuel Garcia-Huitron, 2010. "New Policies for Mandatory Defined Contribution Pensions : Industrial Organization Models and Investment Products," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2462, September.
    5. repec:idb:idbbks:365 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    optimal; decumulation; retirement; housing; non-pension wealth; reverse mortgages;

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