Making a Case for the 401(k) Annuity

Executives from major plan providers, including Christine Marcks, president of Prudential Retirement, along with trade group officials and ERISA experts, pitched ideas about in-plan income options at DoL/Treasury Department hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.

“What Investors Really Want”

That’s the name of behavioral economist Meir Statman’s new book. We all yearn for upside potential and downside protection—and maybe a weekly Lotto ticket, he says.

Imperfect Harmony

Hundreds of riled-up advisors and brokers, including Harold Evensky, have responded to the SEC's RFI on "harmonizing" their standards of conduct. Here's some of what they wrote.

Financial Engines’ Secret Income Plan

Financial Engines CEO Jeff Maggioncalda expects his firm to roll out an in-plan income option to DC participants in late 2010 or early 2011. He won't reveal details, but there are clues to his intentions. Photo by Robyn Basso.

Meet Meir Statman

Click on the headline to watch a four-minute video of Meir Statman discussing his new book "What Investors Really Want," or to read several brief excerpts from the book itself.

The Pros and Cons of 401(k) Annuities

One witness at the DoL/Treasury hearings this week asserted that mandatory annuitization of DC assets at retirement is needed. The government, as well as sponsors and plan providers, have largely ruled that out.

Eight Ways to Simplify Retirement Accounts

The government “spends” $118 billion a year on tax-deferred accounts whose complexities discourage many people from using them, according to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

In Search of Safe Harbors

At this week’s hearing on in-plan income options, industry executives asked the DoL for several kinds of regulatory relief—especially a safer ‘safe harbor.’

Quote of the Week

“The automatic annuitization of retirement balances could help workers achieve a steady stream of income that is guaranteed for life,” from The Report on Tax Reform Options, August 2010, issued by The President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Quote of the Week

“The fiduciary issue is so daunting that it ends the conversation. Sponsors ask, ‘We’re guaranteeing payments for 30 or 35 years?’ It stops the conversation. It’s a wall.” David Wray, director of the Profit-Sharing/401(k) Council of America, a trade group for plan sponsors.

Banks Selling More VAs, Mutual Funds

Bank variable annuity revenue was 16% higher during the first half of 2010 than during the first half of 2009, according to Kehrer-LIMRA

9 in 10 VAs Sold With Living Benefits

For the third consecutive quarter, GLBs were elected 87% of the time when any GLB is available for purchase. The guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) election rate remained at 64%.

The Six Emotional Stages of Retirement

New retirees and people who are three to five years from retirement bear the emotional brunt of the financial crisis, according to Ameriprise Financial's New Retirement Mindscape II survey.

Vanguard Launches New Index ETFs

With the expansion, Vanguard offers 55 ETFs, including eight new equity funds as well as ETFs targeting the growth and value segments of the S&P 500 Index and multiple segments of the S&P MidCap 400 and SmallCap 600 Indexes.