Retirement Income ‘Smackdown’

In a three-way competition at the CFDD conference, the winning income plan was one that maximized Social Security, converted a 401(k) to a Roth IRA, and rebalanced the remaining portfolio monthly.

Examining the Indices in Index-Linked Annuities

A mountain biker needs 18 or 21 gears to smooth a path over rocks and through arroyos. Index-linked annuities now collectively offer some 140 index choices. Hybrid indices can theoretically smooth an investor’s path through rocky markets--but they're complicated.

The Point of Indexing (in Annuities)

Every June, RIJ focuses on indexed annuities. Last year, we studied options in indexed annuities. This year we consider the indexes themselves, especially 'hybrid' and 'volatility-controlled' indexes. Bryan Anderson, Don Dady and David Lau weighed in.

The Irony of Inflation Forecasting (Research Roundup)

In this month's roundup, we learn that CEOs pay little attention to inflation. We also find out why retirees keep saving, why "centaurs" pick stocks so well, which financial biases keep people poor, and how working longer affects male mortality.
Featured

A New Designation Is Born: the RMA

The Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) announced the first recipients of its Retirement Management Analyst designation at its annual meeting last week.

How to Reach the Middle Class Investor

The Society of Actuaries has issued two new papers, one that shows advisors how to create income plans for non-affluent retirees and one that explains why the middle-class shuns advisors.
News

Vanguard’s Low Fees Get Lower

Someone investing $50,000 in Vanguard’s 500 Index Fund, for instance, would pay $35 a year in management fees instead of $90.

Jackson Enhances VA GWMB, adds BlackRock Fund

“We’ve always focused on the cafeteria-style VA product, with various withdrawal and bonus options, and we decided to extend that to the GMWB option. It’s an extension of our ‘give the rep a choice’ philosophy,” Jackson VP Alison Reed said.

For Many Investors, Ten-Year Returns Are Less Than Zero

“About half of U.S. equity mutual fund investors are sitting on paper losses of more than 25% even though the S&P 500 stands exactly at its 10-year average,” TrimTabs' weekly bulletin said. “This helps to explain persistent equity fund outflows despite the recent rally."

Quote of the Week

"We're fooling ourselves if we think there's only one approach" to the challenge of generating a reliable stream of retirement income--Vanguard principal John Ameriks, speaking to the New York Times.

The Bucket

Late-breaking items about Google, Symetra Life, TIAA-CREF, New York Life, The Principal, Putnam Investments and more. . .

Bank Annuity Fee Income Improves in 2Q

Year over year, bank annuity fee income was up 8.0% from the $593.1 million in the second quarter of 2009. First-half 2010 annuity commissions of $1.22 billion, however, were down 7.8% from $1.33 billion in the first half of 2009.