Costly Portfolio Adjustment and the Delegation of Money Management

Hugh Hoikwang Kim

Abstract —This paper investigates the theoretical impact of including two empirically-grounded innovations in a lifecycle portfolio choice model. The first innovation is a portfolio adjustment cost which employees face when managing their financial wealth rather than delegating the task to a professional money manager. When job-specific human capital is accumulated through learning-by-doing, investing time in financial management imposes opportunity costs in terms of current and future human capital accumulation. The second innovation is the incorporation of age-dependent efficiency patterns in financial decision making. These two innovations replicate observed inactivity in portfolio adjustment patterns, especially for younger and older employees. This framework also allows an analysis of the choice between managing one’s own money and delegating the task to a financial advisor. The calibrated model quantifies welfare gains that the delegation option can bring to the lifecycle setting.