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From Saving to Spending

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From Saving to Spending

A Proposal to Convert Retirement Account Balances into Automatic and Flexible Income

Brookings Institution,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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You may know how to save your money for retirement, but do you know how to spend it?

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Everyone knows about saving for retirement, but not many people know how to spend and manage their money so that it lasts a lifetime. David John, William Gale, J. Mark Iwry and Aaron Krupkin of the Brookings Institution take a comprehensive look at traditional income options, as well as new “managed payout funds,” to show the challenges pensioners face in deciding how to use their money when they retire. This informative report, though intended for investment and pension experts, should also interest anyone contemplating a future retirement.


Regular retirement income needs to last a lifetime.

Social Security is the main source of guaranteed retirement income in the United States, but it supplies only a modest pension. Defined pension benefit plans in workplaces offer some assurance, but these are declining in use. Most employers now provide only defined contribution mechanisms like 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts. Annuities are a solid source of guaranteed income, but the lack of transparency around this kind of product has weakened their market appeal.

New financial products and combinations, ...

About the Authors

David John, William Gale and J. Mark Iwry are senior fellows at the Brookings Institution, where Aaron Krupkin is a senior research analyst.

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