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Choosing the optimal annuitization time post-retirement


  • Russell Gerrard
  • Bjarne Højgaard
  • Elena Vigna


In the context of decision making for retirees of a defined contribution pension scheme in the de-cumulation phase, we formulate and solve a problem of finding the optimal time of annuitization for a retiree having the possibility of choosing her own investment and consumption strategy. We formulate the problem as a combined stochastic control and optimal stopping problem. As criterion for the optimization we select a loss function that penalizes both the deviance of the running consumption rate from a desired consumption rate and the deviance of the final wealth at the time of annuitization from a desired target. We find closed-form solutions for the problem and show the existence of three possible types of solutions depending on the free parameters of the problem. In numerical applications we find the optimal wealth that triggers annuitization, compare it with the desired target and investigate its dependence on both parameters of the financial market and parameters linked to the risk attitude of the retiree. Simulations of the behaviour of the risky asset seem to show that, under typical situations, optimal annuitization should occur a few years after retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Gerrard & Bjarne Højgaard & Elena Vigna, 2012. "Choosing the optimal annuitization time post-retirement," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(7), pages 1143-1159, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:quantf:v:12:y:2012:i:7:p:1143-1159 DOI: 10.1080/14697680903358248

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hainaut, Donatien & Deelstra, Griselda, 2014. "Optimal timing for annuitization, based on jump diffusion fund and stochastic mortality," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 124-146.
    2. Yao, Haixiang & Yang, Zhou & Chen, Ping, 2013. "Markowitz’s mean–variance defined contribution pension fund management under inflation: A continuous-time model," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 851-863.
    3. repec:spr:annopr:v:260:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2387-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tiziano De Angelis & Gabriele Stabile, 2017. "On the free boundary of an annuity purchase," Papers 1707.09494,
    5. Di Giacinto, Marina & Federico, Salvatore & Gozzi, Fausto & Vigna, Elena, 2014. "Income drawdown option with minimum guarantee," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 234(3), pages 610-624.
    6. Yao, Haixiang & Lai, Yongzeng & Ma, Qinghua & Jian, Minjie, 2014. "Asset allocation for a DC pension fund with stochastic income and mortality risk: A multi-period mean–variance framework," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 84-92.
    7. Francesco Menoncin & Elena Vigna, 2013. "Mean-variance target-based optimisation in DC plan with stochastic interest rate," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 337, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

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