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Working Paper

Medical Expenses and Saving in Retirement: The Case of U.S. and Sweden

Abstract: Many U.S. households have significant wealth late in life, contrary to the predictions of a simple life-cycle model. In this paper, we document stark differences between U.S. and Sweden regarding out-of-pocket medical and long-term-care expenses late in life, and use them to investigate their role in discouraging the elderly from dissaving. Using a consumption-saving model in retirement with significant uninsurable expense risk, we find that medical expense risk accounts for a quarter of the U.S.-Sweden difference in retirees' dissaving patterns. Furthermore, medical expense risk affects primarily financial assets, while its impact on housing is limited.

Keywords: Household finance; Aging; retirement savings; Health; Cross-country analysis;

JEL Classification: D14; E21; J14; J26;


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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Part of Series: Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers

Publication Date: 2018-04-10

Number: 8

Pages: 41 pages