There will soon be 77 million baby boomers beginning to draw down their retirement income after spending years in the accumulation phase. Insurance News Net’s article, “Retirement Income Fever,” discusses the different products available and what changes might be in store. Between 2006 and 2010, the assets in retirement income increased to $3.3 trillion. That is 11% of all investable household assets, a number expected to grow to 25 or 30% by 2020. The financial industry has been inundated with new products, including 15 new variable annuities in 2010. There were also 21 new living benefit riders introduced to improve upon existing annuities. This year, there have already been 3 new variable annuities and 8 living benefit riders introduced.
For at least the next couple of decades, retirement income will be the investment business’ largest item. Many advisors and retirement plan sponsors need better information on annuity products because some believe that they can replicate annuities with other products. While some new investments do offer monthly income streams similar to annuities, the article states that while good in their own right, these products can never replace annuity products because only annuities offer a guaranteed stream of retirement income. Retirement income products have had a slow acceptance rate by plan sponsors who fear that they are solutions looking for a problem rather than fixing a current problem. 401k annuities offer retirees a way to turn their lifetime working savings into a guaranteed income stream. Companies who sell annuity products are working hard to convince advisors and plan sponsors theirs are the best retirement products.