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Longevity-Insured Retirement Distributions from Pension Plans: Market and Regulatory Issues

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Mark J. Warshawsky

Abstract

This paper explores the extent to which retirees can and do insure themselves against longevity risk in private pension plans. We first review the theoretical and empirical results on the value of annuities, and discuss reasons why households may choose not to further insure themselves against longevity risk. We then analyze current trends in the private pension market, and find that the shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans is likely to reduce annuitization rates among future retirees. This is driven primarily by the fact that the majority of DC plans, such as 401(k) plans, do not even offer participants a life annuity option at retirement. Thus, individuals who wish to annuitize generally must do so in the individual market where payouts are lower due to a healthier mortality pool. Hence, we can forecast that in the coming decades, absent institutional and regulatory changes, overall annuitization rates may fall and households may be increasingly exposed to the risk of outliving their financial resources, while the currently small private individual annuity market may witness significant growth. Finally, we discuss several policy options designed to increase annuitization of retirement resources.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8064.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
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Publication status: published as Gale, W., J. Shoven and M. Warshawsky (eds.) Public Policies and Private Pensions. Brookings Institution, 2004.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8064

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References

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  1. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, . "The Role of Real Annuities and Indexed Bonds In An Individual Accounts Retirement Program," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1999. "The Costs of Annuitizing Retirement Payouts from Individual Accounts," NBER Working Papers 6918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, . "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-9, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Steven F. Venti & James M. Poterba & David A. Wise, 2000. "Saver Behavior and 401(k) Retirement Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 297-302, May.
  6. Olivia S. Mitchell, 2000. "New Trends in Pension Benefit and Retirement Provisions," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-06, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Courtney Coile & Peter Diamond & Jonathan Gruber & Alain Jousten, 1999. "Delays in Claiming Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1992. "How Strong are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," NBER Working Papers 2942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
  10. Jan Walliser, 1999. "Regulation of withdrawals in Individual Account Systems," IMF Working Papers 99/153, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  12. Jeffrey R. Brown, 1999. "Are the Elderly Really Over-Annuitized? New Evidence on Life Insurance and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 7193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," NBER Working Papers 0362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2000. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, May.
  17. William G. Gale & Joel B. Slemrod, 2001. "Rethinking the Estate and Gift Tax: Overview," NBER Working Papers 8205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
  19. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, 2000. "Mortality Risk, Inflation Risk, and Annuity Products," NBER Working Papers 7812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Friedman, Benjamin M & Warshawsky, Mark J, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-54, February.
  22. Jeffrey R. Brown, 1999. "Private Pensions, Mortality Risk, and the Decision to Annuitize," NBER Working Papers 7191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2002. "The Effects of Subjective Survival on Retirement and Social Security Claiming," NBER Working Papers 9140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sven H. Sinclair & Kent A. Smetters, 2004. "Health Shocks and the Demand for Annuities: Technical Paper 2004-09," Working Papers 15868, Congressional Budget Office.
  3. Jeffrey Brown & James Poterba, 2006. "Household Ownership of Variable Annuities," NBER Working Papers 11964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & David McCarthy, 2002. "Annuities for an Ageing World," NBER Working Papers 9092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. William G. Gale & Joel B. Slemrod, 2001. "Rethinking the Estate and Gift Tax: Overview," NBER Working Papers 8205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew A. Samwick & Jonathan Skinner, 2004. "How Will 401(k) Pension Plans Affect Retirement Income?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 329-343, March.
  7. Blake, David & Cairns, Andrew J. G. & Dowd, Kevin, 2003. "Pensionmetrics 2: stochastic pension plan design during the distribution phase," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 29-47, August.
  8. Milevsky, Moshe A. & Young, Virginia R., 2007. "Annuitization and asset allocation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 3138-3177, September.
  9. Thomas Davidoff & Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Annuities and Individual Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1573-1590, December.
  10. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  11. Olivia S. Mitchell, 2001. "Developments in Decumulation: The Role of Annuity Products in Financing Retirement," NBER Working Papers 8567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Devis Geron, 2011. "Severance Pay or Pension Funds?," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0139, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  13. Jeff Dominitz & Angela Hung & Arthur vanSoest, 2007. "Future Beneficiary Expectations of the Returns to Delayed Social Security Benefit Claiming and Choice Behavior," Working Papers wp164, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  14. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2007. "Rational and Behavioral Perspectives on the Role of Annuities in Retirement Planning," NBER Working Papers 13537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alexis Direr, 2010. "Flexible Life Annuities," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(1), pages 43-55, 02.

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