“Build a better 401(k)” by Eileen Ambrose of The Baltimore Sun talks about some ideas for making Americans’ retirement last throughout their lifetime. At the same time as more Americans are living to the age of 100 and beyond, we are in a time where fewer people are saving for a retirement that could be much longer than our years working. With more people approaching retirement putting Social Security safety into question and the lifetime income of traditional pensions a thing of the past, the 401k annuity has been getting a lot of attention from people like President Obama. Because annuities provide a lifetime stream of income in exchange for a lump sum payment to insurance companies, the idea of combining them with 401k’s housing your retirement money makes sense.
While annuities have a lot of options to research, using some of a 401k to purchase one for guaranteed lifetime income is right for many people. Retirees are handed their 401k in a lump sum at retirement to live off for the rest of their lives. They can use some of the money to purchase immediate annuities at retirement, but aren’t always educated about the product. President Obama’s council has two ideas for matching 401k’s and annuities. At age 45, 401k plans can start putting retiree’s money into an annuity or they can purchase an annuity at retirement with half of their 401k savings. The stability of the insurance company from which annuities are purchased is crucial, so there is a call for a federal insurance fund similar to the FDIC to back up these annuities in case the insurance company goes out of business. The government is still doing research to determine what their recommendations will be.