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The Financial Problems of the Elderly: A Holistic Approach


  • Victor R. Fuchs


A holistic approach to the financial problems of the elderly focuses simultaneously on their expenditures that are self financed as well as those that are financed by transfers from the young (under age65). It also focuses simultaneously on paying for health care and paying for other goods and services. The income and health care expenditures not paid from personal income, provides a useful framework for empirical application of the holistic approach . In 1997, approximately 35 percent of the elderly's full income was devoted to health care; 65 percent to other goods and services. Approximately 56 percent of full income was provided by transfers from the young and 44 percent by the elderly themselves. The paper shows how these percentages might change under alternative assumptions about the growth of health care relative to other goods and services and the effect of these changes on the need for more saving and more work prior to retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor R. Fuchs, 2001. "The Financial Problems of the Elderly: A Holistic Approach," NBER Working Papers 8236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8236
    Note: HC AG

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 2002. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 966-985, October.
    2. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1998. "The Cause of Wealth Dispersion at Retirement: Choice or Chance?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 185-191, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dov Chernichovsky & Sara Markowitz, 2001. "Toward a Framework for Improving Health Care Financing for an Aging Population: The Case of Israel," NBER Working Papers 8415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dov Chernichovsky & Sara Markowitz, 2004. "Aging and aggregate costs of medical care: conceptual and policy issues," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(6), pages 543-562.
    3. Avi Dor & Joseph Sudano & David W. Baker, 2003. "The Effects of Private Insurance on Measures of Health: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 9774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hengameh Hosseini, 2011. "Do health care professionals find the use of age-based rationing to reduce health care costs ethical?," Humanomics: The International Journal of Systems and Ethics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 282-299, November.
    5. John Goodman, 2006. "Consumer Directed Health Care," NFI Policy Briefs 2006-PB-20, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
    6. Alfons Palangkaraya & Jongsay Yong, 2009. "Population ageing and its implications on aggregate health care demand: empirical evidence from 22 OECD countries," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-402, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General


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