Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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This research uses a unique data set to answer some fundamental questions that have not previously been fully addressed. Specifically, it provides a summary of the debt service patterns of United States consumers that is derived from de-identified Chase data. The primary purpose is to get a sense of real-world debt service trends through different life stages and, therefore, more realistically save for and live in retirement. To accomplish this, we will provide insights related to important questions that underlie retirement planning assumptions. What is the average level of debt service at various life points? What is the average composition of payments across different debt types? How much do households typically pay, on average, for the specific types of debt they support? Are there specific life-cycle patterns that occur for different types of debt service? Do wealthier households manage debt service differently from households with lower asset levels? This study explores these questions and outlines high-level implications for retirement planning.


age range, asset level, auto loan, average annual debt service, debt life cycle, debt service patterns, home equity loans/lines of credit, income replacement, mortgage, retirement planning, revolving credit card, spending transaction data, student loan

Working Paper Number



J.P. Morgan Asset Management does not allow the publication of any information about an individual or entity. Any data point included in any publication based on customer data may only reflect aggregate information. The data are stored on a secure server and can be accessed only under strict security procedures. Researchers are not permitted to export the data outside of JPMorgan Chase’s systems. The system complies with all JPMorgan Chase Information Technology Risk Management requirements for the monitoring and security of data. J.P. Morgan Asset Management provides valuable insights to policymakers, businesses, and financial advisors, but these cannot come at the expense of consumer privacy. We take every precaution to ensure the confidence and security of our account holders’ private information. J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the brand for the asset management business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its affiliates worldwide. This communication is issued by JPMorgan Distribution Services Inc. member of FINRA. Ensuring data privacy: There are a number of security protocols in place that ensure all customer data are kept confidential and secure. We use reasonable physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that are designed to comply with federal standards to protect and limit access to personal information. There are several key controls and policies designed in place to ensure customer data are safe, secure, and anonymous. Before J.P. Morgan Asset Management receives the data, all unique identifiable information, including names, account numbers, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, is removed. J.P. Morgan Asset Management has also put privacy protocols for its researchers in place. Researchers are obligated to use the data solely for approved research and are obligated not to re-identify any individual represented in the data.

Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2019 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 25 September 2019