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The theory of life-cycle saving and investing

Author

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  • Zvi Bodie
  • Jonathan Treussard
  • Paul S. Willen

Abstract

How much should a family save for retirement and for the kids’ college education? How much insurance should they buy? How should they allocate their portfolio across different assets? What should a company choose as the default asset allocation for a mandatory retirement saving plan? We believe that the life-cycle model developed by economists over the last fifty years provides guidance for making such decisions. The theory teaches us to view financial assets as vehicles for transferring resources across different times and outcomes over the life cycle, and that perspective allows households and planners to think about their decisions in a logical and rigorous way. This paper lays out and illustrates the basic analytical framework from the theory in nonmathematical terms, with the aim of providing guidance to financial service providers, consumers, and policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Zvi Bodie & Jonathan Treussard & Paul S. Willen, 2007. "The theory of life-cycle saving and investing," Public Policy Discussion Paper 07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:07-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Paul A. Samuelson, 2011. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: THE KELLY CAPITAL GROWTH INVESTMENT CRITERION THEORY and PRACTICE, chapter 31, pages 465-472 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
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    9. He, Hua & Pages, Henri F, 1993. "Labor Income, Borrowing Constraints, and Equilibrium Asset Prices," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(4), pages 663-696, October.
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    12. Detemple, Jérôme & Garcia, René & Rindisbacher, Marcel, 2005. "Intertemporal asset allocation: A comparison of methods," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 2821-2848, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Keith Ambachtsheer, 2008. "The Canada Supplementary Pension Plan (CSPP): Towards an Adequate, Affordable Pension for All Canadians (also available in French)," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 265, May.
    2. Fabio C. Bagliano & Carolina Fugazza & Giovanna Nicodano, 2017. "A Life-Cycle Model with Unemployment Traps," Working papers 041, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
    3. Doriana Ruffino, 2014. "Resuscitating Businessman Risk: A Rationale for Familiarity-Based Portfolios," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 107-130, January.
    4. Paweł Rokita & Radosław Pietrzyk & Łukasz Feldman, 2014. "Multiobjective Optimization of Financing Household Goals with Multiple Investment Programs," Statistics in Transition new series, Główny Urząd Statystyczny (Polska), vol. 15(2), pages 243-268, March.
    5. Radosław Pietrzyk & Paweł Rokita, 2015. "Stochastic goals in financial planning for a two-person household," Statistics in Transition new series, Główny Urząd Statystyczny (Polska), vol. 16(1), pages 111-136, May.
    6. Doriana Ruffino, 2007. "Resuscitating The Businessman Risk: A Rationale For Familiarity-Based Portfolios," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-037, Boston University - Department of Economics.

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    Keywords

    Saving and investment;

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