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Debt and Financial Vulnerability on the Verge of Retirement

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  • Annamaria Lusardi
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Noemi Oggero

Abstract

We analyze older individuals’ debt and financial vulnerability using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS). Specifically, in the HRS we examine three different cohorts (individuals age 56–61) in 1992, 2004, and 2010 to evaluate cross-cohort changes in debt over time. We also use two waves of the NFCS (2012 and 2015) to gain additional insights into debt management and older individuals’ capacity to shield themselves against shocks. We show that recent cohorts have taken on more debt and face more financial insecurity, mostly due to having purchased more expensive homes with smaller down payments.

Suggested Citation

  • Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Noemi Oggero, 2017. "Debt and Financial Vulnerability on the Verge of Retirement," NBER Working Papers 23664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23664
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    1. Barbara A. Butrica & Nadia S. Karamcheva, 2013. "Does Household Debt Influence the Labor Supply and Benefit Claiming Decisions of Older Americans?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2013-22, Center for Retirement Research.
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Carlo de Bassa Scheresberg, 2013. "Financial Literacy and High-Cost Borrowing in the United States," NBER Working Papers 18969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1991. "Aging and the income value of housing wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 371-397, April.
    4. Edelberg, Wendy, 2006. "Risk-based pricing of interest rates for consumer loans," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2283-2298, November.
    5. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
    6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-417, May.
    7. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    8. Jingjing Chai & Wolfram Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Optimal Portfolio Choice over the Life Cycle with Flexible Work, Endogenous Retirement, and Lifetime Payouts," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 15(4), pages 875-907.
    9. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 263-306.
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    14. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2017. "How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(03), pages 1-31, September.
    15. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
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    18. Dimitris Christelis & Michael Ehrmann & Dimitris Georgarakos, 2015. "Exploring Differences in Household Debt Across Euro Area Countries and the United States," Staff Working Papers 15-16, Bank of Canada.
    19. Guy Debelle, 2004. "Macroeconomic implications of rising household debt," BIS Working Papers 153, Bank for International Settlements.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving

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