Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

The Effect of Uncertain Labor Income and Social Security on Life-cycle Portfolios

Raimond Maurer, Goethe University
Olivia S. Mitchell, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Ralph Rogalla, Goethe University

The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2010 publication: Reorienting Retirement Risk Management.


This paper examines how labor income volatility and social security benefits influence life-cycle household portfolios. We examine how much the individual saves, and where, taking into account liquid financial wealth and annuities, and stocks versus bonds. Higher labor income uncertainty and lower old-age benefits boost demand for stable income in retirement, but also when young. In addition, a declining equity glide path with age is appropriate for the worker with low income uncertainty but for the high income risk worker, equity exposure rises until retirement. We also evaluate how changes in social security benefits influence retirement risk management.


Date Posted: 23 August 2019