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Savings of young parents

  • Annamaria Lusardi
  • Ricardo Cossa
  • Erin L. Krupka

In this paper, we examine household savings using data from the National Longitudinal Survey, Cohort 1997 (NLSY97). This data set provides detailed information about assets and liabilities of parents with teen-age children and allows researchers to examine patterns of accumulation at early stages of the life cycle. In our empirical work, we have first to deal with several problems in measuring wealth. While many respondents report owning assets and liabilities, they often do not report their values. This problem is severe, in particular among financial assets. It is also difficult to devise an appropriate measure of accumulation when examining young parents, since assets and liabilities display different degrees of liquidity. To get around the non-response problem, we impute the missing values for assets and liabilities. This allows us to calculate household wealth for the whole sample. We examine household wealth holdings by considering several measures of accumulation: total (non-pension) net worth, financial net worth, and retirement savings. We study their distribution across different demographic groups and show that many households, in particular those headed by young parents (younger than 35), minorities, and individuals with low educational attainment, display very little accumulation. Many have no financial assets and their total net worth is also low. Housing equity is the main asset in many household portfolios and often the only asset families own. Overall, there is much heterogeneity in wealth holdings not only across but also within demographic groups. This suggests that many factors are at play in shaping the wealth accumulation of parents with young children.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-00-23.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-00-23
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  1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "The Importance of Entrepreneurship for Wealth Concentration and Mobility," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 1-19, March.
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  8. Goodman, John Jr. & Ittner, John B., 1992. "The accuracy of home owners' estimates of house value," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 339-357, December.
  9. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1998. "The Cause of Wealth Dispersion at Retirement: Choice or Chance?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 185-91, May.
  10. B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 1992. "Private Saving and Public Policy," NBER Working Papers 4215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Joseph Lupton & James P. Smith, 1999. "Marriage, Assets, and Savings," Working Papers 99-12, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  12. Smith, J.P., 1996. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Papers 96-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
  13. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Aldershof, Trea, 1997. "Income and Wealth over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(1), pages 1-32, March.
  14. Dick, Andrew W. & Edlin, Aaron S., 1997. "The implicit taxes from college financial aid," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 295-322, September.
  15. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1999. "Effects of pensions on savings: analysis with data from the health and retirement study," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 271-324, June.
  16. Robert E. Lipsey & Helen Stone Tice, 1989. "The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lips89-1, August.
  17. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs?," NBER Working Papers 3537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Richard T. Curtin & Thomas Juster & James N. Morgan, 1989. "Survey Estimates of Wealth: An Assessment of Quality," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 473-552 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  21. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-24.
  22. Engelhardt Gary V., 1994. "House Prices and the Decision to Save for Down Payments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 209-237, September.
  23. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," NBER Working Papers 2898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Engelhardt, Gary V, 1996. "Consumption, Down Payments, and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 255-71, May.
  25. Michael D. Hurd & Daniel McFadden & Harish Chand & Li Gan & Angela Menill & Michael Roberts, 1998. "Consumption and Savings Balances of the Elderly: Experimental Evidence on Survey Response Bias," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 353-392 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
  27. Zagorsky, Jay L, 1999. "Young Baby Boomers' Wealth," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(2), pages 135-56, June.
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