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Optimal life-cycle consumption and investment decisions under age-dependent risk preferences

Andreas Lichtenstern, Pavel V. Shevchenko and Rudi Zagst

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Abstract: In this article we solve the problem of maximizing the expected utility of future consumption and terminal wealth to determine the optimal pension or life-cycle fund strategy for a cohort of pension fund investors. The setup is strongly related to a DC pension plan where additionally (individual) consumption is taken into account. The consumption rate is subject to a time-varying minimum level and terminal wealth is subject to a terminal floor. Moreover, the preference between consumption and terminal wealth as well as the intertemporal coefficient of risk aversion are time-varying and therefore depend on the age of the considered pension cohort. The optimal consumption and investment policies are calculated in the case of a Black-Scholes financial market framework and hyperbolic absolute risk aversion (HARA) utility functions. We generalize Ye (2008) (2008 American Control Conference, 356-362) by adding an age-dependent coefficient of risk aversion and extend Steffensen (2011) (Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 35(5), 659-667), Hentschel (2016) (Doctoral dissertation, Ulm University) and Aase (2017) (Stochastics, 89(1), 115-141) by considering consumption in combination with terminal wealth and allowing for consumption and terminal wealth floors via an application of HARA utility functions. A case study on fitting several models to realistic, time-dependent life-cycle consumption and relative investment profiles shows that only our extended model with time-varying preference parameters provides sufficient flexibility for an adequate fit. This is of particular interest to life-cycle products for (private) pension investments or pension insurance in general.

Date: 2019-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-upt
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