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- Savings, Consumption and Real Assets of the Elderly in Japan and the U.S. -How the Existing-Home Market Can Boost Consumption
Savings, Consumption and Real Assets of the Elderly in Japan and the U.S. -How the Existing-Home Market Can Boost Consumption
Economic Research Department Senior economist Tatsuya Ishikawa
Attention on the savings behavior of elderly persons has been growing. The common perception that the elderly in Japan are excellent savers while their American counterparts dissave is only partially true - in reality， elderly Japanese households， most of whom are not working， have a negative savings rate of -6 percent. A major difference， however， is that elderly households in the U.S. draw down not only their financial assets but their real assets by moving into smaller owned or rented homes. What makes this possible is the robust market for existing homes in the U.S.， where the frequency of transactions is ten times greater than in Japan. This paper compares the existing-home markets in the two countries， and considers what can be done in Japan to better satisfy the financial needs of elderly persons.