The private value of public pensions
As individual retirement savings accounts replace public pensions and defined benefit schemes, more retirees will decumulate using commercial income streams rather than public or corporate annuities. Here we use an approximation to the retirement income problem [Huang, H., Milevsky, M.A., Wang, J., 2004. Ruined moments in your life: How good are the approximations? Insurance: Math. Econom. 34, 421-447] to compute the cost of replicating a public real life annuity (the Australian Age Pension) using commercial decumulation products. We treat the public pension as a phased withdrawal plan, matching insurance and payment features, and back out the stochastic present value of the plan under an arbitrarily small ruin probability. To reproduce the pension payment with 99% certainty, a male retiree needs 3.6 times the current average retirement savings account balance, and a female retiree needs more than 10 times the average female account balance. At 95% certainty, required wealth falls by around 25%. We measure separately the impact of gender, investment strategy, retirement age and management fees on this valuation.
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