Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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The financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession left huge scars on household balance sheets, with households approaching retirement seeing the largest decline in wealth. This chapter examines how these households have adjusted to these developments. To date, most evidence on this question has come from surveys of household intentions. Using data on actual household behavior, we find that households nearing retirement are making up for financial losses by increasing saving and deferring retirement. They also appear to have reduced financial risk exposure by taking on less leverage and moving their portfolios in a more conservative direction.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2012 publication: Reshaping Retirement Security: Lessons from the Global Financial Crisis.

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Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2011 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The authors thank John Soroushian for excellent research assistance, and David Richardson and participants at the Pension Research Council Spring Symposium for helpful comments.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 28 June 2019