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Savings Between Cohorts: The Role of Planning

  • Annamaria Lusardi

    (Dartmouth College)

  • Jason Beeler

    (Mercer Oliver Wyman)

We compare the saving behavior of two cohorts: the Early Baby Boomers (EBB, age 51-56 in 2004) and the HRS cohort (age 51-56 in 1992). We find that EBB have accumulated more wealth than the previous cohort but they benefited from a large increase in house prices, which lifted the wealth of many home-owners. In fact, there are many families among EBB, particularly those headed by respondents with low education, low income, and minorities, which have less wealth than the previous cohort. Lack of wealth can be traced to lack of retirement planning. Notwithstanding the many initiatives aimed at fostering planning in the 1990s, a large portion of EBB still do not plan for retirement even though most respondents are close to it. The effect of planning is remarkably similar between the two cohorts; those who do not plan accumulate much lower amounts of wealth - from 20 to 45 percent depending on the location in the wealth distribution- than those who do plan. Thus, for both the EBB and the HRS cohort, lack of planning is tantamount to lack of saving irrespective of the many changes in the economy between 1992 and 2004.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp122.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp122.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp122
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  1. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," Working Papers wp114, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. 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.
  3. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," CeRP Working Papers 46, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  4. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  5. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1991. "Aging and the income value of housing wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 371-397, April.
  6. Gentry William M. & Hubbard R. Glenn, 2004. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-57, August.
  7. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1989. "But They Don't Want to Reduce Housing Equity," NBER Working Papers 2859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 189-194, May.
  9. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2000. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  12. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "Retirement and the Stock Market Bubble," NBER Working Papers 9404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
  14. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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