How Seniors Change Their Asset Holdings During Retirement

Brief

How Seniors Change Their Asset Holdings During Retirement

Abstract

We use the Health and Retirement Study to investigate household assets at older ages. We find a notable increase in the net worth of older households between 1998 and 2006, with most of the growth due to housing. The age pattern of asset accumulation and decumulation varies considerably by income. High-income seniors increase assets at older ages. Middle-income seniors reduce assets in retirement, but at a rate that will not deplete assets within their expected life. Low-income seniors spend their financial assets at a rate that will mostly deplete them, leaving only Social Security and defined-benefit pensions at older ages.

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