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How Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: Evidence From Australia

Households in many developed economies now reach retirement with lump sums of financial wealth accumulated through defined contribution retirement plans. Managing wealth from individual accumulations and public provision is critical to retirement welfare. We study the dynamics of retirement wealth and asset allocation using the three wealth waves of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) panel survey. We find significant influences of ageing on asset holdings with older households preferring less risk and more liquidity, while maintaining ownership of the family home. In terms of absolute changes in wealth the average retired household accumulated in 2002-06 and decumulated 2006-10 in line with financial market trends. More diversified households did better. The probability of retired households depleting non-housing wealth to less than one month’s Age Pension payment increased over the sample. Finally, in contrast to the US, the overall effect of health shocks on the wealth of retired Australian households is minimal.

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Paper provided by Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney in its series Working Paper Series with number 11.

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Length: 45
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uts:ecowps:11
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  1. Karen Holden & Richard Burkhauser & Daniel Feaster, 1988. "The timing of falls into poverty after retirement and widowhood," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 405-414, August.
  2. Buly A Cardak & Roger K. Wilkins, 2008. "The Determinants of Household Risky Asset Holdings: Australian Evidence on Background Risk and Other Factors#," Working Papers 2008.05, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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  6. Cho, Sang-Wook (Stanley) & Sane, Renuka, 2013. "Means-Tested Age Pensions And Homeownership: Is There A Link?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(06), pages 1281-1310, September.
  7. Harvey S. Rosen & Stephen Wu, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Health Status," NBER Working Papers 9453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hardy Hulley & Rebecca Mckibbin & Andreas Pedersen & Susan Thorp, 2013. "Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 31-51, 03.
  9. Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2012. "Healthcare Expenditure Profile of Older Australians: Evidence from Linked Survey and Health Administrative Data," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 31(4), pages 451-463, December.
  10. Kingston, Geoffrey & Thorp, Susan, 2005. "Annuitization and asset allocation with HARA utility," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(03), pages 225-248, November.
  11. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  12. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
  13. 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.
  14. 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, 06.
  15. Eric French & Mariacristina De Nardi & John Bailey Jones & Olesya Baker & Phil Doctor, 2006. "Right before the end: asset decumulation at the end of life," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 2-13.
  16. Richard Finlay, 2012. "The Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia: Evidence from the 2010 HILDA Survey," RBA Bulletin, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 19-27, March.
  17. 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.
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