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Optimizing the Retirement Portfolio: Asset Allocation, Annuitization, and Risk Aversion

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  • Wolfram J. Horneff
  • Raimond Maurer
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Ivica Dus

Abstract

Retirees must draw down their accumulated assets in an orderly fashion so as not to exhaust their funds too soon. We derive the optimal retirement portfolio from a menu that includes payout annuities as well as an investment allocation and a withdrawal strategy, assuming risk aversion, stochastic capital markets, and uncertain lifetimes. The resulting portfolio allocation, when fixed as of retirement, is then compared to phased withdrawal strategies such a %u201Cself-annuitization%u201D plan or the 401(k) %u201Cdefault%u201D pattern encouraged under US tax law. Surprisingly, the fixed percentage approach proves appealing for retirees across a wide range of risk preferences, supporting financial planning advisors who often recommend this rule. We then permit the retiree to switch to an annuity later, which gives her the chance to invest in the capital market and %u201Cbet on death.%u201D As risk aversion rises, annuities first crowd out bonds in retiree portfolios; at higher risk aversion still, annuities replace equities in the portfolio. Making annuitization compulsory can also lead to substantial utility losses for less risk-averse investors.

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  • Wolfram J. Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell & Ivica Dus, 2006. "Optimizing the Retirement Portfolio: Asset Allocation, Annuitization, and Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 12392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12392
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    Cited by:

    1. Sun Wei & Triest Robert K. & Webb Anthony, 2008. "Optimal Retirement Asset Decumulation Strategies: The Impact of Housing Wealth," Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-29, September.
    2. Yannis Bilias & Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos, 2010. "Portfolio Inertia and Stock Market Fluctuations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(4), pages 715-742, June.
    3. Wolfram Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia Mitchell & Michael Stamos, 2007. "Money in Motion: Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Retirement," Working Papers wp152, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. Sanders, Lisanne & Melenberg, Bertrand, 2016. "Estimating the joint survival probabilities of married individuals," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 88-106.
    5. Ferro, Gustavo, 2008. "Un impulso al mercado de rentas vitalicias en Espa├▒a
      [Promoting the annuities market in Spain]
      ," MPRA Paper 20211, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2008.
    6. Olivia S Mitchell & John Piggott & Michael Sherris & Shaun Yow, 2006. "Financial Innovation for an Ageing World," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Christopher Kent & Anna Park & Daniel Rees (ed.), Demography and Financial Markets Reserve Bank of Australia.
    7. Ferro, Gustavo, 2008. "On annuities: an overview of the issues," MPRA Paper 20209, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2009.
    8. Pang, Gaobo & Warshawsky, Mark, 2010. "Optimizing the equity-bond-annuity portfolio in retirement: The impact of uncertain health expenses," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 198-209, February.

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