Why do couples and singles save during retirement?

TitleWhy do couples and singles save during retirement?
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsDe Nardi, M, French, E, Jones, JBailey, McGee, R
Series TitleNBER Working Paper
Document Number28828
InstitutionNational Bureau of Economic Research
CityCambridge, MA
KeywordsAHEAD, Couples, Retirement, Savings, Singles

While the savings of retired singles tend to fall with age, those of retired couples tend to rise. We
estimate a rich model of retired singles and couples with bequest motives and uncertain longevity
and medical expenses. Our estimates imply that while medical expenses are an important driver
of the savings of middle-income singles, bequest motives matter for couples and high-income
singles, and generate transfers to non-spousal heirs whenever a household member dies. The
interaction of medical expenses and bequest motives is a crucial determinant of savings for all
retirees. Hence, to understand savings, it is important to model household structure, medical
expenses, and bequest motives.

Citation Key11746