According to “NationWide Wants Different 401k Plans” by Christi Roberts of Annuity News Journal, Nationwide Financial Services is looking to follow the government’s advice regarding 401k plans. The large life insurance company has proposed a plan to transfer traditional 401k money into 401k annuities. Employers would invest their 401k contributions in fixed annuities. While employees would have the option to do that as well, they would still have the ability to invest where they desire. The goal of this proposal and the U.S. Treasury and Department of Labor is to ensure that Americans have a lifetime stream of income so that they don’t run out of money in retirement.
Only 2% of employers are offering an annuity plan right now as an option for their 401k’s. With Nationwide’s proposal, employers would get a tax credit for offering 401k annuities. Nationwide believes that this is a solution to replace the pensions of yesterday that retirees counted on during retirement but that no longer exist for most workers. A survey conducted by Nationwide showed that 3/4 of adults like the idea of having this guaranteed income stream option for their retirement. Opponents think that stock market returns will be higher overall than annuity returns, but the past few years have shown that the fluctuations in the stock market can decimate retirement funds. Fixed annuities are safer and guarantee you not only interest but lifetime income.