Retirement Puzzles: New Evidence From Personal Finances

Arna Olafsson, Michaela Pagel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Using comprehensive transaction-level panel data, we document that individuals repay their consumer debt and save more after they retire. These findings are puzzling because, in principle, people should save more before, rather than after, the expected decrease in income upon retirement. We discuss several potential explanations for our findings, including reductions in work-related expenses and increases in medical health risks around retirement, which are the leading explanations of the so-called retirement-consumption and retirement-savings puzzles. We thereby inform the larger question of whether individuals save enough for retirement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105103
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Retirement
  • Savings
  • Consumer debt

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