This AARP Public Policy Institute factsheet by Sandy Mackenzie and other AARP staff presents initial results of a survey of older Americans on the role that annuities play in distributions from employer-provided pension plans and IRAs. Older workers are clearly interested in annuities, and many retirees might have been interested had they been available. The survey also found interest in trial, partial and gradual annuitization options.
Many plans offer only a limited choice among distributive options, and more flexible arraignments promoting partial annuitization could increase the welfare of older Americans. Both trial and gradual approaches take some of the burden from the choice among annuities, lump sums and other options, and allow annuitants to become more familiar with annuities without obliging them to make an irrevocable decision. Subsequent work will investigate the issues the fact sheet addresses more thoroughly, and will address such issues as the impact of economic and demographic characteristics on choices among annuities and other distribution options.