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Home Research areas Savings, pensions and wealth Wealth accumulation and draw down

Wealth accumulation and draw down

Accumulating and spending down wealth is the basic way individuals transfer resources between time periods and smooth their living standards over their lifetimes. IFS research in this area examines the ‘adequacy’ of the resources individuals have and are accumulating for retirement, both in absolute terms and when considered relative to lifetime earnings. It considers the many drivers of saving (including income smoothing, precautionary saving, bequest motives and the role of housing) and the factors that might affect individuals choices  (including uncertain life expectancies, tax incentives on different savings forms, and the role of inheritance tax). IFS research is also concerned with how wealth is drawn down in retirement, in particular in light of the removal of the requirement to annuitise accumulated defined contribution pension wealth in the UK.


Journal article | Fiscal Studies, Volume 37, Issue 1
We use comparable data from the US and England to examine similarities and differences in the level and trajectories of assets among households aged 70 and over.
Journal article | Fiscal Studies, Volume 37, Issue 1
We investigate the impact of inheritances and gifts received on the distribution of wealth. Whereas previous work has looked only at marketable wealth, we consider broader measures of wealth including state and private pensions.
Journal article | Journal of Pension Economics and Finance
The authors provide new empirical evidence on the importance of defined contribution pension wealth in England, and the nature of annuitization decisions taken by older adults who retire with such sources of wealth.
Journal article | Annual Review of Economics
More work is needed to distinguish precautionary saving motives from other motives, such as the desire to leave bequests. In this paper, progress toward disentangling these motivations has been made by matching other features of the data, such as public and private insurance choices.


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Rowena Crawford
Associate Director
Andrew Hood
Senior Research Economist
Andrew Hood
David Sturrock
Research Economist