, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 447-459
Date: 09 Oct 2012

Optimal Annuity Purchase Decisions Under Uncertain Lifetime

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Abstract

This paper developed a wealth allocation framework for longevity risk protection under stochastic lifetime. By combining the dynamics of wealth evolution and health evolution in stochastic multi-period discrete-time models, an optimization problem was formulated with the objective of maximizing lifetime utility of consumption and bequest. We implemented the framework in different scenarios and provided results to illustrate the practical implications of the framework. Computational results suggested that it is optimal for most people to purchase an annuity at some point in their lives. However, an individual’s health status, risk aversion, retirement objective, and the insurance charge associated with annuities could significantly influence the choice of optimal annuitization time, consumption plans, and trade off between lifetime versus fixed-term annuity.