We exploit the US Survey of Consumer Finances from 1998 to 2007 to study households’ portfolio risk bearing. We compare four alternative measures of risk, two based on a financial portfolio and two based on a broader portfolio also including – as illiquid assets – human capital, real estate, business wealth and related debt. The measures provide a different ranking of household risk bearing, but they consistently show that risk bearing fell after 2001, and it positively correlates with wealth, income and financial sophistication. Furthermore, the risk-age profile is sensitive to the definition of portfolio, although it looks flat for many years.
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