April 16, 2020
Fewer Choosing Annuities in TIAA Plan
In a 401(k) world, purchasing an annuity is one way to turn retirement savings into a reliable source of income. But annuities have never been popular.
Now, a new study finds they are losing appeal even among some employees who historically purchased annuities at much higher rates than the general public: members of the TIAA retirement savings plan – one of the nation’s largest. Until 1989, TIAA required that retirees convert their savings into annuities.
Even in 2000, one out of two participants putting money in TIAA would eventually take their first withdrawal in the form of one of the annuity options the plan offers to retirees.
But by 2017, this number had dropped to about one in five, according to an NBER study for the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium that followed some 260,000 employees with careers at universities, hospitals, and school systems.
The researchers identified two distinct groups in terms of their annuity activity.
The first group tended to have smaller account balances and started tapping annuities in their retirement plans prior to the age when retirees are subject to the IRS’s required minimum distribution (RMD), which was, at the time of the study, 70½. Over the period studied, annuity selections by the first group fell from 57 percent to 47 percent.
The second group – people who had larger balances and didn’t touch their retirement accounts until after the RMD kicked in – saw their annuitization rate plummet from 37 percent to just 6 percent of the participants. …Learn More