Weighing the Value of a Variable Annuity

A VA lifetime withdrawal benefit—especially one with a 'ratchet'—can provide the upside potential and downside protection that many Boomers want in retirement, say researchers Petra Steinorth and Olivia Mitchell. But a life annuity offers a higher dose of "AEW."

Drama in Des Moines

Rejecting a takeover bid by Athene and MassMutual, fixed index annuity issuer American Equity will partner with Brookfield Asset Management. The deal releases up to $350m in capital for American Equity, and makes it a 'Bermuda Triangle' player. Photo: AEL headquarters in Des Moines.

The Five Most Important Retirement Income Decisions

'Many of the decisions presented here are beyond the skills of most pre-retirees and retirees,' writes the author, a research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity. 'They’re going to need help.'

A Closer Look at CLOs (and Other U.S. Credit)

Bond mavens, check this out. A new SEC report describes how most of the $54-trillion dollar U.S. credit market survived last spring's financial crisis. It covers securitized 'leveraged loans,' which provide high-octane fuel for fixed indexed annuity issuers.
Featured

Who’s Afraid of the Fiscal Cliff?

Not Bill Gale of the Brookings Institution. He recommends that we let the Bush tax cuts expire and the automatic spending cuts occur—and then to build a more sensible fiscal compromise on top of their ruins.
News

GDP growth rate of 2.8% predicted for 4Q 2012: Prudential

The 1.5% GDP growth in Q2 was due to weaker consumer and government spending and a negative trade balance. Bright spots were solid business investment spending and housing as well as a rise in inventories, according to Prudential strategist John Praveen.

The Bucket

Brief and late-breaking items from Natixis Global Asset Management, Symetra, Fidelity, Allianz Life and Genworth.

“Quote” of the Week

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise"--F. Scott Fitzgerald, from "The Crack-Up."

On Moshe Milevsky’s “The 7 Most Important Equations”

Each chapter in Prof. Milevsky's latest book focuses on a different important mathematical equation, on the genius who created it (or who won credit for creating it), and the application of that equation to retirement income problems.