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Providing Income for a Lifetime: Bridging the Gap between Academic Research and Practical Advice

Workers and families nearing retirement face a number of increasingly complicated decisions.  These include when to claim Social Security, how to allocate a portfolio of financial assets, whether to purchase an annuity (and if so, when and what type), how quickly to spend unannuitized wealth, and whether to pay off any outstanding mortgage or purchase a reverse mortgage.  In this Public Policy Institute research paper, Tony Webb of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College describes, for each of these decisions, what most households actually do, the conventional wisdom as to what they should do, and what a careful economic analysis suggests that most people should do. 

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