The latest paper on zeta from the Financial Planning Performance Lab is now posted on SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2549730
The intention of this study was to document how closely households follow normative descriptions of financial behavior in relation to their financial planning horizon. Modern Portfolio Theory predicts that households, in general, exhibit risk aversion. Aversion to wealth volatility should correspondingly be highest among those households with the shortest planning horizons. This study estimated percentage changes in wealth and wealth volatility over time categorized by financial planning horizon using data from the 2002 through 2010 waves of Health and Retirement Study. Modigliani ratios were computed for the entire population and by planning horizon. Zeta estimates were made by calculating the difference between the Modigliani ratios for each planning horizon and the ratio for the short-term horizon. Contrary to the conceptualized relationship between planning horizon and financial wealth volatility, results from this study show that respondents with the shortest financial planning horizons experienced lower risk-adjusted returns and greater wealth volatility. The findings of this study underscore an unmet and perhaps unrealized need for professionally provided financial planning.