The Kreppa that Almost Melted Iceland

Iceland's economy and pension system has come back from the "kreppa" or banking crisis that struck five years ago. This country of the aurora borealis and matronymic last-names is full of surprises (Photo by Bjorn Ludviksson).

How Debt Affects Retirement

“Remaking Retirement? Debt in an Aging Economy," was the theme of the 65th annual symposium of the Wharton School's Pension Research Council, held last week in Philadelphia. (Photo: Kitchen and retirement makeovers sometimes occur in tandem.)
Anecdotal Evidence

It’s No Joke: The Fed’s Comic Book is Wrong

The educational comic book from the New York Fed means well but perpetuates the myth that money was created in the private sector to facilitate barter and enabled commerce to flourish. History shows otherwise.
Anecdotal Evidence

Annuities that Pay Cash Back Rewards

Gainbridge, a insur-tech startup, aims to sell fixed deferred and period certain income annuities online. Its sister company, Relay, uses annuities to fund cash back rewards cards. Both firms are part of Group1001 (formerly Delaware Life Holdings).
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Anecdotal Evidence

Annuity Sales Decline in 1Q 2013: LIMRA

"In many ways, the current market is more challenging to many annuity manufacturers than the recent financial crisis,” said Joe Montminy, assistant vice president and director of LIMRA annuity research.
Anecdotal Evidence

“An inoculation, not a depredation”

Notes from all over: What a government official said privately about the $3 million cap on tax-favored accumulations; Mark Cortazzo's new business of mining old VA contracts; another New York Times article that obfuscates annuities.
News
Anecdotal Evidence

Can’t win for losing

Venturing into the sensitive area of ethnicity, Prudential documents a need for dramatic improvement in the financial circumstances of the average African American.
Anecdotal Evidence

Lower VA reserves on guarantees boosted life insurer income in 2012: Fitch

The majority of the 2012 net income change for life insurers--to $34 bn from $9 bn in 2011--came from large variable annuity companies who reported lower reserves on guaranteed benefits, which more than offset the negative impact of low interest rates, Fitch Ratings said.
Anecdotal Evidence

Insurance now a riskier business: State Street

A new study, “Facing the Future: Blueprint for Growth,” highlights three main insurer challenges: risk, regulation and the restructuring of product offerings.
Anecdotal Evidence

Are ‘multi-asset income funds’ for real?

“As talk of a gravy train gains currency, however, now is a good time to consider what lies beneath the multi-asset income label," said Barbara Wall, a director at Cerulli Associates, in a release.
Anecdotal Evidence

Lincoln Financial expands VA fund options

The new investment options, which seek to reduce exposure to market risks, include seven new options for Lincoln ChoicePlus Assurance products and four new options for American Legacy products.
Anecdotal Evidence

Dicey

"We have been trained to consider all the possible future outcomes and then weight them in accordance with their probability. In effect we freeze time and take multiple copies of the world and then run the six versions forward as ‘parallel universes’," writes this TowersWatson analyst. But the real world, he says, doesn't work that way.
Anecdotal Evidence

Swan Dive

In trying to predict the future, we make two mistakes, experts said at conferences this spring. In relying on averages of potential outcomes, we assume parallel universes. And we blame “black swans” for our own failures of imagination.