Blanchett’s research shows that an easy way to secure retirement income — using guaranteed lifetime annuities — effectively doubles the annual amount of money that retirees are willing to spend on themselves and their families.
“It’s not that you can spend more,” Blanchett says, “it’s that you WILL spend more.”
That’s not necessarily a big honking commercial for annuities. An annuity is a contract with an insurance company in which you make a lump-sum payment (or a series of deposits) and get, in return, regular disbursements beginning either immediately or starting sometime in the future.
There are different types of annuities, and they are not all created equal. (Note: My strong preference is for fixed annuities, and I have a real dislike for equity-indexed annuity products.) The devil is in the details, and every annuity contract must be scrutinized for potential trouble spots.
Moreover, a huge problem with annuities right now is that bond yields are so low that payout rates are dismal. As a result, it takes a bigger lump sum to secure future income streams; annuities are no bargain right now.
A dose of inflation actually would help potential annuity buyers, bumping up bond yields and, in turn, the payouts on policies.
Buying annuities in the face of potential inflation, however, locks in the current rates and leaves buyers vulnerable to inflation unless they pay for a costly inflation rider.