thesis defense and presentation wednesday june 24 1998 l.
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THESIS DEFENSE AND PRESENTATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1998 COMMITTEE MEMBERS ROBERT WEAGLEY CRAIG ISRAELSEN LOREN NIKOLAI INTRODUCTION The household’s decision to consume less of their current income enables them to satisfy the unit’s goals.

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thesis defense and presentation wednesday june 24 1998



  • The household’s decision to consume less of their current income enables them to satisfy the unit’s goals.
  • It is the purpose of this research to gather insight on such similarities in asset allocation patterns and to answer the following research questions.
    • (1)How do economic factors affect the composition of a household’s asset portfolio?
    • (2)How does life cycle stage, as defined by age, affect the distribution of financial and consumer durable assets, as hypothesized by the life-cycle model of asset allocation?
literature review
  • Uhler and Cragg (1971)analyzed how income and nonhuman wealth affect the composition of a family’s asset holdings. Their study examined household portfolios comprised of checking accounts, savings accounts, saving bonds, and stocks.
  • Claycamp (1963)determined that the percentage of households which possess variable-dollar investments (such as stocks, bonds, owner-occupied home, other real estate, and businesses) increased steadily as their asset level increased.
  • Weagley and Gannon (1990)studied the portfolio management of individual investors. Their research investigated several assets by dividing them into 4 groups: housing, financial securities, savings, and retirement investments. Utilized 9 independent variables – total assets, total debt, total income, age, age squared, household size, single/dual earner households, and education.
literature review asset management styles
PYRAMID OF RISKfor structuring an assets portfolio with respect to risk aversion and expected return. The base of the pyramid is comprised of conservative investments which carry little risk but offer little in way of return. At each successive level the amount of risk rises along with the expected return. The idea is that investors should not progress to the next level of risk until a solid foundation of safer financial investments has been made at each preceding level.

LIFE-CYCLE APPROACH – investments move between conservative and speculative according to the households stage in the life-cycle. This allows the portfolio to stay balanced as the family progresses through time.

Literature ReviewAsset Management Styles
  • Data Source:

  1992 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)

3906 national respondents

5 imputations

19,530 total observations

  Total number of observations utilized 16,440.0

Total number of observations utilized after weighting 15,840.4

  • Independent Variables:

Total Assets

Total Income

Total Debt


methodology asset classifications
Investment Properties

Principle Residence

Business Property

Real Estate Property

Depository Accounts

Checking Accounts

Savings Accounts

Money Market Accounts

Certificates of Deposit

Cash from Brokerage Accounts

Government Savings Bonds

Other Investments

Retirement Accounts

Individual Retirement Accounts



Life Insurance


Corporate Common Stock

Stock Funds


Government Bonds

State and Municipal Bonds

Bond Funds 

Methodology – Asset Classifications
results total income
Results – Total Income
  • The average dollar worth of household assets tended to increase with the level of total income, however, there was an overall lack of significant change between the 1st 9 deciles. This result denotes that there is not a significant difference in the amounts held in these assets. It should be noted that the change in mean value was consistently significant for households within decile 9 (income of $60,160 - $86,780) to those within decile 10 (incomes over $86,000).
  • The results which analyze the proportions of total assets held in each asset imply that as the unit’s total income increases the household devotes less of their portfolio to low-risk investments such as checking/savings accounts, as well as vehicle stock. Proportions held in higher risk assets, such as property and stocks, increased; but there was an overall lack of significant change between the adjacent deciles of each.
results total assets
Results – Total Assets
  • As the asset level increased within the household, so did the mean value of the unit’s investments. In fact, most all of these changes were significant.
  •  The empirical results support past researchers’ results where households devote a larger percentage of their portfolio to riskier investments the greater their level of wealth. As you can see, the proportions in depository account and vehicle stock decreased whereas the proportion in property increased. The other financial assets fluctuated but had a tendency to decrease significantly after the household reached over $225,180 in assets (decile 8).
  • Possible reasons being:

retirement funds – the household may be self insured

stocks/bonds – do not yield as much return as property

and not providing enough income (rental income)

results total debt
Results – Total Debt
  • With regards to total debt, the outcomes were not consistent with previous studies in that a household’s debt was not a driving force in causing the mean values of the units’ assets to fall. In fact, greater debt was sometimes associated with greater stocks of some assets. However, each investment experiences a significant increase in mean value from debt deciles 9 to 10. This implies that at a certain point either
  • (1)debt is not a factor considered when increasing assets
  • (2)the accumulation of debt and the increasing mean values are related (ex. to increase the mean value of your vehicle one may purchase a higher valued car which may require an auto loan.
  •  With regards to the proportions of total assets

Depository accounts decreased as total debt increased

There may have been a transfer of funds to pay off debt or acquiring new assets

results age
Results - Age
  • Consistent with Siverd (1986) and Weagley and Gannon (1990), the research indicates that households have the tendency to regard life-cycle stage when allocating assets within their portfolio. These life-cycle considerations can be assumed to focus on the individual asset’s specific characteristics and levels of risk.



Stage 1

Build a reserve of safe investments

(age decile 1)

Stage 2

Invest in riskier securities

(age decile 2)

Stage 3

Balancing risk with

conservative investments

(age decile 3)

Stage 4

Able to invest in riskier


(age decile 4, 5, 6)

Stage 5

Invest for income

(age decile 7)

Stage 6

Conservative mix of


(age decile 8)

Stage 7

Portfolio contains a heavy mix of

income-oriented investments

to replace lost salary

(age decile 9 and 10)

implications for practitioners
Implications for Practitioners

Educators and Practitioners:

  • By utilizing the results of this study, practitioners will be better able to identify customer needs more quickly and efficiently. By no means are the asset management styles discussed a solution for every investment client, but, they will provide guidelines on choosing assets with regards to various economic and age factors.
  •  Educators/Extension Specialists can provide the public with simple methods by which to manage their assets and answers to complex investment allocation decisions. The life-cycle approach offers the flexibility to cater to both needs while allowing freedom to choose suitable assets. This study is also practical for many different investors from those who need investment advise on speculative investments to buying a vehicle.