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Old 12-16-2014, 12:40 AM   #41
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Invest monies in the Wellesley fund thru Vanguard. Good solid conservative (approx. 35% equities/65% bonds) mutual fund, low expenses. Been around over 40 yrs. Probably has averaged 7% annually since inception.

That's what I did with my pension lump sum ($135,000) back in 2011.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:16 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
The worry I have is that this pension is so far above the usual rates. Who is running this pension? My state pension has an interest rate of 5.5% which goes up to an equivalent of 7% if I get a 3% annual COLA....I can't imaging getting much better than that anywhere......so 7.9% as interest sounds very rich to me.
The reason the payout looks so good is that the lump sum being offered as the alternative is so bad. This is fairly typical with pension buyout offers. The company wants to get out of the longterm financial obligation. They know many people will jump at the lump sum. They make a low ball offer. If the OP wanted to buy an annuity with the same payout, they would pay a lot more than the lump sum offer.

I got offered a pension buyout on one of my small pensions. I think the cash offer was for about 70% of what it would take to buy an equivalent annuity. As much as I hate insurance companies and annuities, it seemed like a much better deal to keep the pension. If it had been in the 90% range, I would have taken it. You would think a "fair" buyout offer would be better than a commercial annuity since there is no commission or operating expense to be paid.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:16 AM   #43
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The reason the payout looks so good is that the lump sum being offered as the alternative is so bad. This is fairly typical with pension buyout offers. The company wants to get out of the longterm financial obligation. They know many people will jump at the lump sum. They make a low ball offer. If the OP wanted to buy an annuity with the same payout, they would pay a lot more than the lump sum offer.

I got offered a pension buyout on one of my small pensions. I think the cash offer was for about 70% of what it would take to buy an equivalent annuity. As much as I hate insurance companies and annuities, it seemed like a much better deal to keep the pension. If it had been in the 90% range, I would have taken it. You would think a "fair" buyout offer would be better than a commercial annuity since there is no commission or operating expense to be paid.
Most companies will have to use the IRS segmented interest rates when calculating a buy out....the OP's original number did look far to low to be correct and when they looked again they found that it was actually a lot higher implying an interest rate of around 3.9% which is in line with what would be expected.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:18 AM   #44
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Avoid annuities. This is a great way to transfer 15% - 20% of the amount invested to the insurance company. The insurance company always comes out the winner. If low risk is your goal then you would be better suited in a simple mix of about 67% bonds like AGG (the total bond market) and 33% stocks like VOO (S&P 500 index) or VOO and XLP (consumer staples index).
Somebody suggested an immediate annuity. These things are smoke and mirrors. When you estimate actual return on investment (ROI) that's when you realize that they are a bad deal. Interest payment rate is not the same as ROI (what really matters).
Immediate annuities are about as simple as it gets, certainly not smoke and mirrors. The customer pays a one-time premium and receives a promise from the insurance company to pay them $x per month for their life, or $y per month for their joint life or $z per month for a stated period of time depending on the benefit option chosen. It could not get much more simple. You know what you are giving up and what you will get in return.

About the only thing that you said that makes sense is that the insurance company comes out the winner. That is usually true in that they price the contract to earn a profit by taking a spread on the investment income from investing premiums and mortality is quite predictable. But the contract holder can be a winner too if they live long in that they would get a return that is much higher than long interest rates at the time the immediate annuity is purchased and have little risk. Contract holders who die early leave money on the table that effectively goes to other contract holders who live long.

I have no idea where you get the idea of 15-20%. The insurers wish it was that profitable.

That said, I would agree that just taking the same money and putting it into a solid balanced fund and setting up automatic withdrawals is a better play, albeit with more risk. For those who are risk-averse the immediate annuity can be a good option.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:19 AM   #45
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Nun & Midpack,

I would appreciate any illumination you can provide. My situation is almost identical to the OP's original uncorrected post.

Projected for 4/1/15 retirement:
* 27 years of employment.
* Non-Cola pension of $34,776 per year (50% survivor payout)
* Option to convert to a 100% survivor option for a reduced payout.
* Megacorp (DJIA 30 company) just announced a lump sum payout
option. They offered $338,051
* US pension plan funded at 103% as of Jan 1, 2013 with 13.9 billion in
assets.
(Global pension plan is well funded but separate)
* Have some health issues but think I can make it to mid to late 70's.
* Wife is almost indestructible and should live to late 80's early 90's.

The yearly pension payout is 9.9% of the lump sum amount.

I am not sure how to calculate the IRR, but it seems to me a lump sum payout is a bad deal.

I looked at what it would take to provide this in a 25 year annuity and it was something like $500K. Your skepticism on how an annuity can pay this out with such a low lump sum has me scratching my head.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
Could I suggest you look at the black & white table in post #29 above and answer each row/question for yourself. You've provided the info that's most important to answer the first (most important IMO) question, but there may be more to it than just the numbers.

The questions are meant to be in order of priority, but you may weight them differently, your call.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:21 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by ReadySkiDaddy View Post
Avoid annuities. This is a great way to transfer 15% - 20% of the amount invested to the insurance company. The insurance company always comes out the winner. If low risk is your goal then you would be better suited in a simple mix of about 67% bonds like AGG (the total bond market) and 33% stocks like VOO (S&P 500 index) or VOO and XLP (consumer staples index).
Somebody suggested an immediate annuity. These things are smoke and mirrors. When you estimate actual return on investment (ROI) that's when you realize that they are a bad deal. Interest payment rate is not the same as ROI (what really matters).
I am NOT a fan of annuities by any means, but not all annuities are created equal, so your generalization may not apply. With annuities you're always paying for the privilege, but some are ripoffs and others not as much. You have to look at each case.

Sometimes people are offered annuity monthly payouts that are far more valuable than the lump sum option they're offered, for whatever reason the institution does not want to pony up a lump sum so they make the monthly payout offer clearly better for the recipient.

"Avoid annuities" may not apply in that situation...

Most people would consider immediate annuities one of the few that CAN be a "better deal." Variable annuities are more often considered "smoke and mirrors."
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:24 AM   #47
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Sorry - critical piece of information.... I am 58
Ok, for a single life annuity given your numbers the payout rate is 10% and your interest rate if you live to 84 will be 9.3%, and 7% if you live to 75.

Those numbers do not seem sensible to me. Either the lump sum is too low or the pension amount is too high. This is doubly true as you say your pension has a survivor benefit. If the offer is correct it's amazing. I would check again.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:28 AM   #48
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Invest monies in the Wellesley fund thru Vanguard. Good solid conservative (approx. 35% equities/65% bonds) mutual fund, low expenses. Been around over 40 yrs. Probably has averaged 7% annually since inception.

That's what I did with my pension lump sum ($135,000) back in 2011.
That's good advice....I own psst Wellesley.....but that would not stop me from having a pension or annuity. Annuities are not investments, they are insurance, so to compare them with Wellesley is not very useful.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:33 AM   #49
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Avoid annuities. This is a great way to transfer 15% - 20% of the amount invested to the insurance company. The insurance company always comes out the winner. If low risk is your goal then you would be better suited in a simple mix of about 67% bonds like AGG (the total bond market) and 33% stocks like VOO (S&P 500 index) or VOO and XLP (consumer staples index).
Somebody suggested an immediate annuity. These things are smoke and mirrors. When you estimate actual return on investment (ROI) that's when you realize that they are a bad deal. Interest payment rate is not the same as ROI (what really matters).
Annuities should be considered as part of your financial plan, but they are more like insurance than an investment. They provide knowable income streams and that can be useful in falling markets and if you have dependents. Today's rates make the income they generate quite low, but do not discount them all, some pensions have higher rates than commercial annuities and it is foolish to discount them entirely without doing the math and knowing someone's particular circumstances.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:37 AM   #50
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As all the experts are here on this, I thought I would throw mine out there.
I kept this with the Utility Co when I left as it had a 5.25% return.
For 2015 it will grow at 5%. Most everyone else rolled it into their IRA.
But I like the safe return. I can project it out into the future, but here is what it looks like if I were to take it today at 53. Non COLA. / Un Cola.
This was a huge part of the retirement plan when I joined the Co in 84.
Then it was whittled down through the yrs. based on age rather than yrs of service. Or a combination of both. Point systems etc.

Cash balance $267,959.14

annuity option.
Spouse`s Pension: $1,329.84 / $664.92
75% Contingent Annuity: $1,241.54 / $931.16
100% Contingent Annuity: $1,214.68 / $1,214.68

I have talked about this here in the past, still undecided as to which way to go.
How does this look compared to most? About average? Below average?
Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:45 AM   #51
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As all the experts are here on this, I thought I would throw mine out there.
I kept this with the Utility Co when I left as it had a 5.25% return.
For 2015 it will grow at 5%. Most everyone else rolled it into their IRA.
But I like the safe return. I can project it out into the future, but here is what it looks like if I were to take it today at 53. Non COLA. / Un Cola.
This was a huge part of the retirement plan when I joined the Co in 84.
Then it was whittled down through the yrs. based on age rather than yrs of service. Or a combination of both. Point systems etc.

Cash balance $267,959.14

annuity option.
Spouse`s Pension: $1,329.84 / $664.92
75% Contingent Annuity: $1,241.54 / $931.16
100% Contingent Annuity: $1,214.68 / $1,214.68

I have talked about this here in the past, still undecided as to which way to go.
How does this look compared to most? About average? Below average?
Thanks!
I'd encourage you to look for yourself, starting here https://www.immediateannuities.com/.

While I don't think anyone would deliberately give you bad advice, there are some "experts" here who provide outright wrong poorly thought out answers some times. I'd want to "see the work" myself if it was me, too important to trust to strangers...
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:58 AM   #52
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Thanks!
Its a hair better than the link. $154.00 / mo.
Back to square one.
Funny it only took 29.6667 yrs. to acquire.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:09 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by almost there View Post
As all the experts are here on this, I thought I would throw mine out there.
I kept this with the Utility Co when I left as it had a 5.25% return.
For 2015 it will grow at 5%. Most everyone else rolled it into their IRA.
But I like the safe return. I can project it out into the future, but here is what it looks like if I were to take it today at 53. Non COLA. / Un Cola.
This was a huge part of the retirement plan when I joined the Co in 84.
Then it was whittled down through the yrs. based on age rather than yrs of service. Or a combination of both. Point systems etc.

Cash balance $267,959.14

annuity option.
Spouse`s Pension: $1,329.84 / $664.92
75% Contingent Annuity: $1,241.54 / $931.16
100% Contingent Annuity: $1,214.68 / $1,214.68

I have talked about this here in the past, still undecided as to which way to go.
How does this look compared to most? About average? Below average?
Thanks!
What you have sounds a bit like TIAA-Traditional, can you keep it and just take out annual interest or systematic withdrawals and pass the principal on to your heirs? That would be a nice option.

Your age is needed to do any annuity calculation. Check out
https://www.immediateannuities.com/ to see if your numbers are good. Or use a present value calculator.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:04 PM   #54
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one thing to note - a lump sum equivalent is not a present value of an annuity certain to life expectancy - it's a discounted mathematical expectation over the probability of survival to each age
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:33 PM   #55
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one thing to note - a lump sum equivalent is not a present value of an annuity certain to life expectancy - it's a discounted mathematical expectation over the probability of survival to each age
For the person faced with the choice it's useful to think of the interest rate you'd need to get on the lump sum to generate the income up to a certain age. It allows for some comparison, but of course you need to factor in the different nature of an annuity compared to a self managed portfolio.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:48 PM   #56
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I am NOT a fan of annuities by any means, but not all annuities are created equal, so your generalization may not apply. With annuities you're always paying for the privilege, but some are ripoffs and others not as much. You have to look at each case.

Sometimes people are offered annuity monthly payouts that are far more valuable than the lump sum option they're offered, for whatever reason the institution does not want to pony up a lump sum so they make the monthly payout offer clearly better for the recipient.

"Avoid annuities" may not apply in that situation...

Most people would consider immediate annuities one of the few that CAN be a "better deal." Variable annuities are more often considered "smoke and mirrors."
They offer high INTEREST payments but their PRINCIPAL gets eroded. Their return on investment winds up being low. Really it's a case of "chasing yield". Investors are focused on the annual payment rate but don't realize that they need to keep their eye on the BALL (their principal). Immediate annuities wind up screwing over heirs. And if the annuitant ever needs to get back that money they are screwed. Can't get it. I would never screw over my heirs in exchange for an inferior ROI, kissing my principal goodbye, and screwing over my heirs.
Annuities are usually sold to investors who are ignorant of how a diversified portfolio performs over time. Nothing wrong with earning 5.6% from 1999 through 2013 AND still having your original principal (unlike the immediate annuity).
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:57 PM   #57
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That's good advice....I own psst Wellesley.....but that would not stop me from having a pension or annuity. Annuities are not investments, they are insurance, so to compare them with Wellesley is not very useful.
I only mentioned Wellesley as a good (useful) option for somebody who opts to take a lump sum.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:19 PM   #58
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They offer high INTEREST payments but their PRINCIPAL gets eroded. Their return on investment winds up being low. Really it's a case of "chasing yield". Investors are focused on the annual payment rate but don't realize that they need to keep their eye on the BALL (their principal). Immediate annuities wind up screwing over heirs. And if the annuitant ever needs to get back that money they are screwed. Can't get it. I would never screw over my heirs in exchange for an inferior ROI, kissing my principal goodbye, and screwing over my heirs.
Annuities are usually sold to investors who are ignorant of how a diversified portfolio performs over time. Nothing wrong with earning 5.6% from 1999 through 2013 AND still having your original principal (unlike the immediate annuity).
Annuities provide an income stream, the rest of your portfolio can grow and be left to your heirs. Annuities have no principal, you buy them and for that you get an income stream for life or some contracted period, they have been shown to be interesting alternatives to bonds and bond funds in a portfolio.

Not all annuities/pensions are equal, I just cashed one in that did not have a COLA and will be buying one with a COLA. I would certainly not annutize my entire portfolio, but up to 20% to provide a foundation of income is worth considering. I advise you to read the recent analysis of this topic by the likes of Wade Pfau.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:34 PM   #59
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Annuities are a place where you put your money. It really doesn't matter how you want to classify them. "Annuities should not be compared to bonds and stocks" is what insurance salesmen say to eliminate the competition. How convenient! When you put your money somewhere you want LIQUIDITY, lower taxes, heirs to benefit most and the BEST return for the amount of risk you are taking. Investing in 67% AGG and 33% VOO is hardly going to drop to zero. That's the point of the chart that I posted. If you only took out 5.5% per year, after 14 years you STILL HAD your original principal, then you could take out more per year. AGG and VOO provide an income stream and if it's not enough you simply sell off a portion of your ETF's which are GROWING. Simple.
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Old 12-16-2014, 10:16 PM   #60
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Annuities are a place where you put your money. It really doesn't matter how you want to classify them. "Annuities should not be compared to bonds and stocks" is what insurance salesmen say to eliminate the competition. How convenient! When you put your money somewhere you want LIQUIDITY, lower taxes, heirs to benefit most and the BEST return for the amount of risk you are taking. Investing in 67% AGG and 33% VOO is hardly going to drop to zero. That's the point of the chart that I posted. If you only took out 5.5% per year, after 14 years you STILL HAD your original principal, then you could take out more per year. AGG and VOO provide an income stream and if it's not enough you simply sell off a portion of your ETF's which are GROWING. Simple.
Well for once a salesman has told the truth, annuities are very different from stocks and bonds. It's understanding the differences when planning for retirement that is important. If you haven't read Wade Pfau's article on annuities in an retirement portfolio this might be interesting.

Wade Pfau's Retirement Researcher Blog: An Efficient Frontier for Retirement Income

The person who buys an annuity will get consistent income and allow other assets to compound, so they don't necessarily end up with less to leave to heirs, especially if they live for a long time. You might look at anSPIA as a replacement for bonds in your portfolio
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