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Annuitization and asset allocation

Moshe Milevsky () and Virginia R. Young

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Abstract: This paper examines the optimal annuitization, investment and consumption strategies of a utility-maximizing retiree facing a stochastic time of death under a variety of institutional restrictions. We focus on the impact of aging on the optimal purchase of life annuities which form the basis of most Defined Benefit pension plans. Due to adverse selection, acquiring a lifetime payout annuity is an irreversible transaction that creates an incentive to delay. Under the institutional all-or-nothing arrangement where annuitization must take place at one distinct point in time (i.e. retirement), we derive the optimal age at which to annuitize and develop a metric to capture the loss from annuitizing prematurely. In contrast, under an open-market structure where individuals can annuitize any fraction of their wealth at anytime, we locate a general optimal annuity purchasing policy. In this case, we find that an individual will initially annuitize a lump sum and then buy annuities to keep wealth to one side of a separating ray in wealth-annuity space. We believe our paper is the first to integrate life annuity products into the portfolio choice literature while taking into account realistic institutional restrictions which are unique to the market for mortality-contingent claims.

Date: 2015-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-upt
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Published in J of Economic Dynamics and Control 31(9) (2007), 3138-3177

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