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The Wealth of Cohorts: Retirement Saving and the Changing Assets of Older Americans

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  • Steven F. Venti
  • David A. Wise

Abstract

Personal retirement accounts are becoming an increasingly important form of retirement saving. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the paper considers the effect of this change on the assets of recent retirees and persons who are approaching retirement. Much of the analysis is based on comparisons of younger and older cohorts with different lengths of exposure to personal retirement saving programs. The findings suggest that personal retirement saving has already added substantially to the personal financial assets of older families. Projections imply that the personal financial assets of the cohort that will attain age 76 in 28 years will be almost twice as large as the personal financial assets of the cohort that attained age 76 in 1991. The results indicate also that to date there" has been little replacement of employer-provided pension saving with personal retirement saving. Together with evidence that personal financial saving is unrelated to changes in home equity, the results suggest that personal retirement saving will lead to an important increase in the overall wealth of the elderly.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "The Wealth of Cohorts: Retirement Saving and the Changing Assets of Older Americans," NBER Working Papers 5609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5609
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kapteyn, Arie & Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2005. "Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts: Productivity growth and Social Security," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1361-1391, July.
    2. Gary V. Engelhardt, 2000. "Have 401(k)s Raised Household Saving? Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 33, McMaster University.
    3. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    4. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.
    5. Alexander M. Gelber, 2011. "How Do 401(k)s Affect Saving? Evidence from Changes in 401(k) Eligibility," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 103-122, November.
    6. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
    7. Clark, Robert L. & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2014. "How does retiree health insurance influence public sector employee saving?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 109-118.
    8. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 73-90, Fall.
    9. William Bassett, 1995. "Defined contribution plans: the role of income, age and match rates," Research Paper 9517, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    10. Willaim G. Gale & Karen M. Pence, 2006. "Are Successive Generations Getting Wealthier, and If So, Why?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(1), pages 155-234.
    11. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
    12. Karunarathne, Wasana & Abeysinghe, Tilak, 2005. "Does mandatory pension savings crowd out private savings?: The experience of Sri Lanka," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 830-846, October.
    13. Chatterjee, Swarn & Zahirovic-Herbert, Velma, 2009. "Retirement Plan Participation in the United States: Do Public Sector Employees Save More?," MPRA Paper 13546, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Grant M Scobie & John K Gibson, 2003. "Household Saving Behaviour in New Zealand: Why do Cohorts Behave Differently?," Treasury Working Paper Series 03/32, New Zealand Treasury.
    15. M. Baldini & C. Mazzaferro, 2000. "Transizione demografica e formazione del risparmio delle famiglie italiane," Working Papers 366, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    16. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249 Elsevier.
    17. Arthur B. Kennickell & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Pensions, social security, and the distribution of wealth," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    18. A. Bayar & K. Mc Morrow, 1999. "Determinants of private consumption," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 135, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    19. Junya Hamaaki, 2013. "The Pension System and Household Consumption and Saving Behavior," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 9(4), pages 687-716, September.

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