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Optimal Portfolio Choice with Wage-Indexed Social Security

Author

Listed:
  • Jialun Li
  • Kent Smetters

Abstract

This paper re-examines the classic question of how a household should optimally allocate its portfolio between risky stocks and risk-free bonds over its lifecycle. We show that allowing for the wage indexation of social security benefits fundamentally alters the optimal decisions. Moreover, the optimal allocation is close to observed empirical behavior. Households, therefore, do not appear to be making large "mistakes," as sometimes believed. In fact, traditional financial planning advice, as embedded in "target date" funds - whose enormous recent growth has been encouraged by new government policy - often leads to even relatively larger "mistakes" and welfare losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Jialun Li & Kent Smetters, 2011. "Optimal Portfolio Choice with Wage-Indexed Social Security," NBER Working Papers 17025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
    2. Bertaut, Carol C. & Haliassos, Michael, 1997. "Precautionary portfolio behavior from a life-cycle perspective," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(8-9), pages 1511-1542, June.
    3. Ian Ayres & Barry J. Nalebuff, 2008. "Life-cycle Investing and Leverage: Buying Stock on Margin Can Reduce Retirement Risk," NBER Working Papers 14094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    5. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 76-101, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marekwica, Marcel & Schaefer, Alexander & Sebastian, Steffen, 2013. "Life cycle asset allocation in the presence of housing and tax-deferred investing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1110-1125.
    2. Madalina Gabriela ANGHEL & Gyorgy BODO & Okwiet BARTEK, 2016. "Model of Static Portfolio Choices," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(1), pages 49-53, January.
    3. Fischer, Marcel & Kraft, Holger & Munk, Claus, 2013. "Asset allocation over the life cycle: How much do taxes matter?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2217-2240.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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