The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently completed a study which investigated why annuities are under owned despite the benefits it provides for retirees. The findings are particularly interesting for financial advisors given this wide gap and persistent challenge.
The study queried investors with more than $100,000 in financial assets who are in or near retirement. About half of the respondents indicated some willingness to buy an annuity at current rates, while only 12% actually are invested in one.
Interestingly, the study also found that a lack of liquidity or the inability to pass on an annuity as an asset to heirs were not cited as reasons to not purchase an annuity. Instead, the major factor was a lack of knowledge of the product and how to buy one. Some who were more familiar with the product had a negative perception of hidden costs and performance issues.
According to the authors of the study, the reluctance to buy one stems mostly from psychological reasons. Advisors should endeavor to provide more detailed knowledge about these products including the mechanics of how they work in order to increase comfort levels. Then, they should share an action plan of how to actually buy an annuity.
Finsum: Most retirees acknowledge the benefits of owning an annuity and self-report a desire to invest in one. Yet only 12% of retirees own an annuity despite the benefits. Some research on this gap came up with some interesting findings.