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How Family Status and Social Security Claiming Options Shape Optimal Life Cycle Portfolios

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Hubener

    (Goethe University of Frankfurt)

  • Raimond Maurer

    (Goethe University of Frankfurt)

  • Olivia S. Mitchell

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Household decisions are profoundly shaped by a complex set of financial options due to Social Security rules determining retirement, spousal, and survivor benefits, along with benefit adjustments that vary with the age at which these are claimed. These rules influence optimal household asset allocation, insurance, and work decisions, given life cycle demographic shocks such as marriage, divorce, and children. Our model generates a wealth profile and a low and stable equity fraction consistent with empirical evidence. We also confirm predictions that wives will claim retirement benefits earlier than husbands, while life insurance is mainly purchased by younger men. Our policy simulations imply that eliminating survivor benefits would sharply reduce claiming differences by sex while dramatically increasing men’s life insurance purchases.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Hubener & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "How Family Status and Social Security Claiming Options Shape Optimal Life Cycle Portfolios," Working Papers wp293, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp293
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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