Costly Portfolio Adjustment and Delegated Money Management


The proposed reserach will evaluate what role financial advisers can play in the context of a lifecycle portfolio choice model.  Previous efforts have focused on optimal portfolio allocation patterns for a rational forward-looking consumer who must decide on her own how to allocate her accruals between stocks and bonds.  The proposed paper will add several new features to the basic model to explore why and when a financial adviser might be optimally brought in to help the consumer manager her portfolio.  The first innovation is to allow for portfolio adjustment costs which many people must bear, when managing their own financial wealth.  This has particular impact if the worker must accumulate job-specific human capital through learning by doing; in this instance, spending time on one's own financial management imposes an opportunity cost in terms of current and future job-related human capital accumulation.  We also propose to  incorporate an age-related time efficiency pattern for financial decision-making, in keeping with observed empirical evidence.  These two innovations are likely to make it costly for individuals to manage their own portfolios, in ways that are consistent with observed low levels of trading in workers' 401(k) accounts.  Our framework will also permit us to analyze the factors that influence whether people choose to managing their  own money, versus delegate his task to a professional money manager.

Funded By: 
Award Dates: 
July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011
PARC Grant Year: 
Year 17