65 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2013 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015
Date Written: August 29, 2013
This paper provides insight and guidance for the retiree decision making between whether to annuitize or manage their retirement savings. Tables and graphs demonstrate the breakeven age between annuitizing with a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) versus managing a portfolio and the likelihood of outliving the breakeven cash flow sums for various annuitization ages (65 to 85), longevity percentiles of Period Life Tables, and portfolio allocations.
What are breakeven asset allocations below which a SPIA provides a higher lifetime expected total cash flow? Managed portfolios retain a balance at death while SPIAs have none. How does the cash flow breakeven comparison change when that balance is, or is not, considered? Does age matter in the decision to switch from a managed portfolio to a SPIA? Is there a different conclusion if different tables are used (Social Security Table "General Population" vs Annuity 2000 Table ("Healthy Population"))? How do good vs median vs poor markets affect the breakeven comparison? How do fees affected the comparison? Can the Annual Payout Rate (APR) of a SPIA be useful in the decision making process?
A more descriptive paper, without data Appendices and different figures, and fewer pages has been added to SSRN in abstract http://ssrn.com/abstract=2352252. This abstract http://ssrn.com/abstract=2317857 contains the data, figures and appendices that support the work described in more and better detail in http://ssrn.com/abstract=2352252, which also has a description for a practical application that is easier to do compared to the methodology used to produce that data in these two abstracts.
Note: The cash flow in this paper is based on zero asset management fees, ½% fees or 1% fees. However, note that the fees are taken from the cash flow, not the portfolio balance, in this paper. This tilts the analysis in favor of SPIAs. Example: a 1% fee on a $500,000 portfolio would be $5000 for the year. If the cash flow for that year was calculated to be $25,000 (5% of portfolio value), then the net cash flow to the retiree would be $20,000 ($25k - $5k). However, if the portfolio itself pays the management fees, which is more common, then the $5,000 fee in this example would come from the $500,000, thus the cash flow calculation would be 5% on the $495,000 portfolio => $24,750 net to the retiree. Cash flow in this paper is based on the prior form, and thus biases the results towards SPIAs earlier than would normally be the case.
Keywords: SPIA, Immediate annuity, managed diversified portfolio, cash flow comparisons, breakeven comparison
JEL Classification: D14, D81, D90, G11, G17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Frank, Larry R. and Mitchell, John B. and Pfau, Wade D., Lifetime Expected Income Breakeven Comparison between SPIAs and Managed Portfolios (August 29, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2317857 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2317857
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