Managing a 401(k) Account: An Experiment on Asset Allocation
The study reports the results of an asset allocation experiment in which subjects managed an endowment of money over a 20 "year" time period. While grounded in theory, the study takes an applied look at the ability of subjects to efficiently and effectively make asset allocation decisions similar to those found in 401(k) accounts. The main conclusions are as follows. First, efficient portfolios are more easily created when the set of assets to choose from is carefully constructed. Thus, financial engineers should be given the responsibility for choosing the assets available to plan participants and ensuring that combinations of these assets will fall on the efficient frontier. If followed, this advice would likely significantly reduce the amount of individual company stock offered in Defined Contribution (DC) plans in place of well-constructed low cost index funds from multiple asset classes. Second, if the assets selected for inclusion in DC plans allow the investor to easily create portfolios on the efficient frontier, then the challenge for the investor is not how to get onto the frontier but where to locate on it. The simplistic surveys that are commonly used by DC plan providers to determine risk tolerance and to recommend asset allocations are woefully inadequate for this task. More sophisticated and theoretically driven instruments must be created to educate investors on the risks and the benefits available at different points along the efficient frontier.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Mail Stop 030, Reno, NV 89557-0207|
Phone: (775) 784-6450
Fax: (775) 784-4728
Web page: http://www.business.unr.edu/econ/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- J. Tobin, 1958.
"Liquidity Preference as Behavior Towards Risk,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 65-86.
- Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
- Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
- Mitchell, Olivia S. & Utkus, Stephen P. (ed.), 2004. "Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons from Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199273393, December.
- Campbell, John Y. & Viceira, Luis M., 2002. "Strategic Asset Allocation: Portfolio Choice for Long-Term Investors," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296942, December.
- Richard H. Thaler, 2008.
"Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,"
INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
- Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 2002. "How Much Is Investor Autonomy Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1593-1616, 08.
- Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
- Kroll, Yoram & Levy, Haim & Rapoport, Amnon, 1988. "Experimental tests of the mean-variance model for portfolio selection," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 388-410, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:06-017. 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: (Mehmet Tosun)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.