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Retirement Savings Portfolio Management

  • Jeff Dominitz

    (RAND)

  • Angela Hung

    (RAND)

We assess the welfare implications of alternative retirement plan investment options given that households may not invest according to optimal portfolio choice theory but may instead use simple decision rules. We simulate the performance of lifestyle, lifecycle, and other simple strategies for allocating retirement savings. We find that if investors use simple rules of thumb to choose investments, then the impact of these strategies on welfare depend to a large extent on the choice set they are offered. If larger choice sets cause them to undertake more risk, then risk tolerant individuals may tend to be made better off. If larger choice sets cause them to reduce suboptimally low levels of portfolio risk, then the increased choice set may make them substantially worse off. The welfare effects of plan designs that induce lifecycle investing, which tends to be conservative over the lifetime, therefore depend crucially on the counterfactual portfolio composition, as well as preferences and non-retirement wealth.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp138.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp138.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp138
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  1. James M. Poterba & Joshua Rauh & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2009. "Reducing Social Security PRA Risk at the Individual Level: Life-Cycle Funds and No-Loss Strategies," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 255-292 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ravi Jagannathan & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Why should older people invest less in stock than younger people?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 11-23.
  3. Canner, Niko & Mankiw, N Gregory & Weil, David N, 1997. "An Asset Allocation Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 181-91, March.
  4. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
  5. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
  6. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2007. "Expected Equity Returns and Portfolio Choice: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 369-379, 04-05.
  7. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  8. Gur Huberman & Wei Jiang, 2006. "Offering versus Choice in 401(k) Plans: Equity Exposure and Number of Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 763-801, 04.
  9. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
  10. Robert Dammon & Chester Spatt & Harold Zhang, . "Optimal Asset Location and Allocation with Taxable and Tax-Deferred Investing," GSIA Working Papers 2003-E44, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  11. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  12. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "For Better or For Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," JCPR Working Papers 256, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  15. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  16. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "How Should We Measure Consumer Confidence?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 51-66, Spring.
  17. Terrance Odean, 1999. "Do Investors Trade Too Much?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1279-1298, December.
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