Insight: The Impact of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Features on the Annuitization Decision and Implications for Defined Contribution Benefit Plan Design

By Jason Fichtner

Insight Overview


Sudipto Banerjee finds that employers’ retirement plan rules can drive annuitization decisions and that the participant’s age and account balance are also important factors affecting annuitization decisions. Changing pension payout rules can therefore change annuitization behavior. Based on our review of the author’s research findings, we suggest pursuing the following ideas: (1) encourage defined-benefit pension plan administrators to establish plan rules that encourage annuitization and restrict lump-sum offerings; (2) with the passage of the SECURE Act, and the continued trend away from defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans, encourage defined-contribution plan administrators to offer more options for full or partial annuitization and restrict full or partial lump sum options; (3) change pension plan rules to restrict the lump-sum payout option, which can positively impact annuitization rates; and (4) lowering plan account balance requirements for annuitization, or lowering the involuntary cash-out threshold, could positively impact annuitization rates among workers under 40 who change jobs frequently.

Read the Full Insight

About the Author

Jason J. Fichtner is Chief Economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center and Senior Fellow at the Retirement Income Institute.

Stay informed with the latest updates on protected income planning.