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Rules of Thumb in Life-cycle Saving Decisions

Author

Listed:
  • Winter, Joachim
  • Schlafmann, Kathrin
  • Rodepeter, Ralf

Abstract

We analyse life-cycle saving decisions when households use simple heuristics, or rules of thumb, rather than solve the underlying intertemporal optimisation problem. We simulate life-cycle saving decisions using three simple rules and compute utility losses relative to the solution of the optimisation problem. Our simulations suggest that utility losses induced by following simple decision rules are relatively low. Moreover, the two main saving motives reflected by the canonical life-cycle model - long-run consumption smoothing and short-run insurance against income shocks - can be addressed quite well by saving rules that do not require computationally demanding tasks, such as backwards induction.

Suggested Citation

  • Winter, Joachim & Schlafmann, Kathrin & Rodepeter, Ralf, 2012. "Rules of Thumb in Life-cycle Saving Decisions," Munich Reprints in Economics 19721, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19721
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    Cited by:

    1. Binswanger, Johannes & Carman, Katherine Grace, 2012. "How real people make long-term decisions: The case of retirement preparation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 39-60.
    2. Fabio C. Bagliano & Carolina Fugazza & Giovanna Nicodano, 2014. "Optimal Life-Cycle Portfolios for Heterogeneous Workers," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 18(6), pages 2283-2323.
    3. Geert Van Campenhout, 2015. "Revaluing the Role of Parents as Financial Socialization Agents in Youth Financial Literacy Programs," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 186-222, March.
    4. William L. Skimmyhorn & Evan R. Davies & David Mun & Brian Mitchell, 2016. "Assessing financial education methods: Principles vs. rules-of-thumb approaches," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(3), pages 193-210, July.
    5. Bettina Lamla, 2013. "Family background and the decision to provide for old age: a siblings approach," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 483-504, August.
    6. Massenot, Baptiste, 2020. "Pain of Paying in a Business Cycle Model," SAFE Working Paper Series 194, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE, revised 2020.
    7. Pablo Mira, 2023. "Consumption and Fluctuations: What Role for Behavioral Economics?," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(82), pages 98-127, November.
    8. Dina Tasneem & Audrey Azerot & Marine de Montaignac & Jim Engle-Warnick, 2018. "A Laboratory Study of the E?ect of Financial Literacy Training on Retirement Savings," CIRANO Working Papers 2018s-24, CIRANO.
    9. Shafique, Attayah & Ayub, Usman & Zakaria, Muhammad, 2019. "Don’t let the Greed catch you! Pleonexia rule applied to Pakistan stock exchange," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 524(C), pages 157-168.
    10. Dina Tasneem & Jim Engle-Warnick, 2018. "Decision Rules for Precautionary and Retirement Savings," CIRANO Working Papers 2018s-22, CIRANO.
    11. Orlando Gomes, 2021. "Growth theory under heterogeneous heuristic behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 533-571, April.
    12. Määttänen, Niku & Alho, Juha, 2014. "Response to updated mortality forecasts in life cycle saving and labor supply," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1120-1127.
    13. Bagliano, Fabio C. & Fugazza, Carolina & Nicodano, Giovanna, 2021. "Life-cycle welfare losses from rules-of-thumb asset allocation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
    14. Stuart Landon and Constance Smith, 2015. "Rule-Based Resource Revenue Stabilization Funds: A Welfare Comparison," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    15. Orlando Gomes, 2021. "Hand-to-mouth consumers, rule-of-thumb savers, and optimal control," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 16(2), pages 229-263, April.
    16. Daria Pignalosa, 2021. "The Euler Equation Approach: Critical Implications of Recent Developments in the Theory of Intertemporal Choice," Bulletin of Political Economy, Bulletin of Political Economy, vol. 15(1), pages 1-43, June.
    17. Barasinska, Nataliya & Ludwig, Johannes & Vogel, Edgar, 2021. "The impact of borrower-based instruments on household vulnerability in Germany," Discussion Papers 20/2021, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    18. Bachmann, Kremena & Lot, Andre & Xu, Xiaogeng & Hens, Thorsten, 2023. "Experimental Research on Retirement Decision-Making: Evidence from Replications," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
    19. Grigoli, Francesco & Herman, Alexander & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 2018. "Saving in the world," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 257-270.
    20. Larin, Alexander & Novak, Anna & Khvostova, Irina, 2013. "Consumption dynamics in Russia: Estimates on microdata," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 32(4), pages 29-44.
    21. Koehler, Derek J. & Langstaff, Jesse & Liu, Wu-Qi, 2015. "A simulated financial savings task for studying consumption and retirement decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 89-97.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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