Following the Rules: Integrating Asset Allocation and Annuitization in Retirement Portfolios: Insurance: Mathematics and Economics


Empirical Capital Market Research, Pension provision

42, 2008, S.396-408. (2008)


Duš, Dr. Ivica


Financial advisers have developed standardized payout strategies to help Baby Boomers manage their money in their golden years. Prominent among these are phased withdrawal plans offered by mutual funds including the “self-annuitization” or default rules encouraged under US tax law, and fixed payout annuities offered by insurers. Using a utility-based framework, and taking account of stochastic capital markets and uncertain lifetimes, we first evaluate these rules on a stand-alone basis for a wide range of risk aversion. Next, we permit the consumer to integrate these standardized payout strategies at retirement and compare the results. We show that integrated strategies can enhance retirees’ well-being by 25%–50% for low/moderate levels of risk aversion when compared to full annuitization at retirement. Finally, we examine how welfare changes if the consumer is permitted to switch to a fixed annuity at an optimal point after retirement. This affords the retiree the chance to benefit from the equity premium when younger, and exploit the mortality credit in later life. For moderately risk-averse retirees, the optimal switching age lies between 80 and 85.

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