IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17536.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Composition and Draw-down of Wealth in Retirement

Author

Listed:
  • James M. Poterba
  • Steven F. Venti
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

This paper presents evidence on the resources available to households as they enter retirement. It draws heavily on data collected by the Health and Retirement Study and calculates the "potential additional annuity income" that households could purchase, given their holdings of non-annuitized financial assets at the start of retirement. Even if households used all of their financial assets inside and outside personal retirement accounts to purchase a life annuity, only 47 percent of households between the ages of 65 and 69 in 2008 could increase their life-contingent income by more than $5,000 per year. At the upper end of the wealth distribution, however, a substantial number of households could make large annuity purchases. The paper also considers the role of housing equity in the portfolios of retirement-age households, and explores the extent to which households draw down housing equity and financial assets as they age. Many households appear to treat housing equity and non-annuitized financial assets as "precautionary savings," tending to draw them down only when they experience a shock such as the death of a spouse or a period of substantial medical outlays. Because home equity is often conserved until very late in life, for many households it may provide some insurance against the risk of living longer than expected.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Draw-down of Wealth in Retirement," NBER Working Papers 17536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17536
    Note: AG EFG PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17536.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia, 2012. "Medicaid and the housing and asset decisions of the elderly: Evidence from estate recovery programs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 210-224.
    2. Brown, Jeffrey R., 2001. "Private pensions, mortality risk, and the decision to annuitize," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 29-62, October.
    3. Samuel Marshall & Kathleen McGarry & Jonathan S. Skinner, 2011. "The Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure at the End of Life," NBER Chapters, in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 101-128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Courtney Coile & Kevin Milligan, 2009. "How Household Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: The Effect Of Aging And Health Shocks," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 226-248, June.
    5. Susann Rohwedder & Steven J. Haider & Michael D. Hurd, 2006. "INCREASES IN WEALTH AMONG THE ELDERLY IN THE EARLY 1990s: HOW MUCH IS DUE TO SURVEY DESIGN?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(4), pages 509-524, December.
    6. Jonathan D. Fisher & David S. Johnson & Joseph T. Marchand & Timothy M. Smeeding & Barbara Boyle Torrey, 2007. "No Place Like Home: Older Adults and Their Housing," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(2), pages 120-128.
    7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 304-309, May.
    8. Love, David A. & Palumbo, Michael G. & Smith, Paul A., 2009. "The trajectory of wealth in retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 191-208, February.
    9. Michaud, Pierre-Carl & van Soest, Arthur, 2008. "Health and wealth of elderly couples: Causality tests using dynamic panel data models," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1312-1325, September.
    10. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    11. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2004. "Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 127-180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Barbara A. Butrica & Gordon B.T. Mermin, 2006. "Annuitized Wealth and Consumption at Older Ages," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-26, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2006.
    13. Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2010. "The Effect of the Risk of Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care on Economic Preparation for Retirement," Working Papers wp232, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    14. Thomas Davidoff & Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Annuities and Individual Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1573-1590, December.
    15. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 2017. "The asset cost of poor health," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 9(C), pages 172-184.
    16. Stephen Wu, 2003. "The Effects of Health Events on the Economic Status of Married Couples," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    17. Jeffrey R. Brown & Arie Kapteyn & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, February.
    19. Thomas Davidoff, 2009. "Housing, Health, and Annuities," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(1), pages 31-52, March.
    20. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    21. Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2009. "The Level and Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending," Working Papers wp218, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    22. Jeffrey R. Brown & Arie Kapteyn & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Coile, Courtney & Diamond, Peter & Gruber, Jonathan & Jousten, Alain, 2002. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 357-385, June.
    25. Saul Pleeter & John T. Warner, 2001. "The Personal Discount Rate: Evidence from Military Downsizing Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 33-53, March.
    26. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    27. Karen Smith & Mauricio Soto & Rudolph G. Penner, 2009. "How Seniors Change Their Asset Holdings During Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-31, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2009.
    28. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," Working Paper Series rwp11-006, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    29. Monika Bütler & Stefan Staubli, 2010. "Payouts in Switzerland: Explaining Developments in Annuitization," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-06, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    30. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
    31. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Health Cost Risk and Optimal Retirement Provision : A Simple Rule for Annuity Demand," Other publications TiSEM f178a33d-4386-4036-861f-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    32. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    33. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    34. Irina Telyukova & Makoto Nakajima, 2010. "Home Equity Withdrawal in Retirement," 2010 Meeting Papers 636, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    35. John Chalmers & Jonathan Reuter, 2012. "How Do Retirees Value Life Annuities? Evidence from Public Employees," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(8), pages 2601-2634.
    36. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2011. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Public Care Aversion from Bequest Motives," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 519-561, April.
    37. David A. Wise, 2004. "Introduction to "Perspectives on the Economics of Aging"," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 1-16, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. David A. Wise, 2004. "Perspectives on the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise04-1, June.
    39. Ameriks, John & Mitchell, Olivia S. (ed.), 2008. "Recalibrating Retirement Spending and Saving," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549108.
    40. Charles Brown, 2010. "Post-Retirement Adjustments in Defined Benefit Pensions," Working Papers wp242, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Yogo, Motohiro, 2016. "Portfolio choice in retirement: Health risk and the demand for annuities, housing, and risky assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 17-34.
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Savings After Retirement: A Survey," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 177-204, October.
    3. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
    4. Peijnenburg, Kim & Nijman, Theo & Werker, Bas J.M., 2016. "The annuity puzzle remains a puzzle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 18-35.
    5. Amitabh Chandra & Courtney Coile & Corina Mommaerts, 2020. "What Can Economics Say About Alzheimer's Disease?," NBER Working Papers 27760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John Laitner & Dan Silverman & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2018. "The Role of Annuitized Wealth in Post-retirement Behavior," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 71-117, July.
    7. Johannes Hagen, 2015. "The determinants of annuitization: evidence from Sweden," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(4), pages 549-578, August.
    8. Gan, Li & Gong, Guan & Hurd, Michael & McFadden, Daniel, 2015. "Subjective mortality risk and bequests," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 188(2), pages 514-525.
    9. Pashchenko, Svetlana, 2013. "Accounting for non-annuitization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 53-67.
    10. Raun Ooijen & Rob Alessie & Adriaan Kalwij, 2015. "Saving Behavior and Portfolio Choice After Retirement," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 353-404, September.
    11. Julien Hugonnier & Florian Pelgrin & Pascal St‐Amour, 2020. "Closing down the shop: Optimal health and wealth dynamics near the end of life," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 138-153, February.
    12. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Optimal Annuitization with Incomplete Annuity Markets and Background Risk During Retirement," Other publications TiSEM 0b8e2130-a64a-48c1-97d6-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    13. Makoto Nakajima & Irina A. Telyukova, 2020. "Home Equity In Retirement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 61(2), pages 573-616, May.
    14. Mengyi Xu & Jennifer Alonso Garcia & Michael Sherris & Adam Shao, 2022. "Insuring Longevity Risk and Long-Term Care: Bequest, Housing and Liquidity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/340821, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    15. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and AHEAD Cohorts," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-69, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Schreiber, Philipp & Weber, Martin, 2016. "Time inconsistent preferences and the annuitization decision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 37-55.
    17. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Health Cost Risk and Optimal Retirement Provision : A Simple Rule for Annuity Demand," Discussion Paper 2010-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    18. James M. Poterba, 2014. "Retirement Security in an Aging Society," NBER Working Papers 19930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Medicaid Insurance in Old Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3480-3520, November.
    20. Hagen, Johannes & Hallberg, Daniel & Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella, 2021. "A Nudge to Quit? The Effect of a Change in Pension Information on Annuitization, Labour Supply, and Retirement Choices Among Older Workers," GLO Discussion Paper Series 209 [pre.], Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17536. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.