John Ameriks, TIAA-CREF Institute
October 1999 | Issue # 60
This issue of Research Dialogue examines the retirement patterns and annuitization decisions of a large cohort of TIAA-CREF participants (more than 200,000 individuals) as they passed through retirement ages during 1987-1996. We use these data to illustrate, analyze, and attempt to explain the decline in the number of annuitizations among TIAA-CREF participants over this period. Along the way, we present statistics showing trends in retirement behavior of this cohort of TIAA-CREF participants. We also briefly describe and discuss some of the considerations that might be affecting participants' decisions regarding the annuitization of accumulated retirement wealth, focusing on the effects of increased retirement wealth. (An appendix to this issue, examines in detail, some of the trade-offs inherent in delaying the start of life-annuity income.) Finally, we assess the hypothesis that those whose wealth has increased the most over this period (participants holding relatively more equities in their retirement portfolios) also have been most likely to delay the annuitization decision.