Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Variable Payout Annuities and Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Retirement

Horneff, Wolfram J.
Mitchell, Olivia S.
Stamos, Michael Z.
Volume: 9
Number: 2
Pages: 163 - 183
Month: April
ISSN-Print: 1474-7472
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2010
Abstract: Many retirees hope to continue earning capital market rewards on their saving while avoiding outliving their funds during retirement. We model a dynamic utility maximizing investor who seeks to benefit from holding both equity and longevity insurance. She is free to adjust her portfolio allocation of her financial wealth as well as of the annuity over time, and she can purchase variable payout annuities any time and incrementally. In this setting, we show that the retiree will not fully annuitize even without bequests; rather, she will combine variable annuities with withdrawals from her liquid financial wealth so as to match her desired consumption profile. Optimal stock exposures decrease over time, both within the variable annuity and the withdrawal plan. Welfare gains from this strategy can amount to 40% of financial wealth, depending on risk parameters and other resources; additionally, many retirees will do almost as well as the fully optimized outcome if they hold variable annuities invested 60/40 in stocks/bonds.