Evaluating the Advanced Life Deferred Annuity- An Anuuity People Might Actually Buy

Guan Gong & Anthony Webb

Although annuities provide longevity insurance that should, in theory, be
attractive to risk-averse households facing an uncertain lifespan, rates of
voluntary annuitization remain extremely low. We evaluate a proposed
annuity product, the Advanced Life Deferred Annuity, an annuity purchased at
retirement, providing an income commencing in advanced old age. Using
numerical optimization techniques, we show that this product would provide a
substantial proportion of the longevity insurance provided by an immediate
annuity, at a small fraction of the cost. At plausible levels of actuarial
unfairness, households should prefer it to both immediate and postponed
annuitization, and an optimal decumulation of unannuitized wealth. We show
that few households would suffer significant losses were it used as a 401(k)
plan default.

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