Pensions From Scratch
Wall Street Journal (12/16/02) Vol. 18, No. 4 p.R4; Chu, Kathy; Whitehouse, Kaja

Fixed annuities have become more attractive with the decline of the stock market, and more people are expected to use them because the next generation of retirees has a longer life expectancy, but they sometimes have certain drawbacks, such as high fees or payments that ignore inflation, according to this article. Some provisions will allow lower payouts and a legacy for heirs, or inflation protection, but not everyone needs such things, and investors should spread out risk by never having more than $100,000 with any one insurer. Insurers are inventing variations to attract new customers, including no surrender charges, and investors should look for high company credit ratings, the article says.

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