NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Savings After Retirement: A Survey

Mariacristina De Nardi, Eric French, John B. Jones

NBER Working Paper No. 21268
Issued in June 2015
NBER Program(s):   AG   HC   HE   PE

The saving patterns of retired U.S. households pose a challenge to the basic life-cycle model of saving. The observed patterns of out-of-pocket medical expenses, which rise quickly with age and income during retirement, and heterogeneous lifespan risk, can explain a significant portion U.S. savings during retirement. However, more work is needed to disentangle these precautionary saving motives from other motives, such as the desire to leave bequests. An important complementary question is why households do not buy more insurance against these risks. Going beyond total savings and looking at its components, including housing, and looking at other portfolio choices can help shed light on these questions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21268

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