A New Bond to Improve Retirement Security Mar 2018.pdf

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    There is a growing retirement crisis and most of the focus has been on the fact that individuals are not saving enough for retirement, may not have access to pension schemes, or are financially illiterate. However, the bigger issue might be that the assets/financial products available to investors, including those that offer legal protection to plan sponsors, may not be appropriate for the typical individual saving for retirement. As Merton (2014) notes, the model adopted to plan for retirement for the majority of the population focuses on wealth at retirement as opposed to the level of retirement income that an individual can earn. As a result, current assets and products are risky from a retirement income perspective. All else equal, individuals retiring a few years apart can have vastly different retirement income outcomes (making retirement outcome a function of one’s conception date). A new bond has been proposed to improve retirement security – with a forward-start (tied to date of retirement), income-only (as individuals need steady income), real cash flow stream (linked to appropriate indices), for a fixed period (tied to average life expectancy). This paper examines standard portfolio choices (60/40, target date funds), along with holding this new bond in isolation, from a retirement income perspective to demonstrate how this new bond, either individually or when used in standard portfolio choices could greatly improve retirement outcomes. The paper concludes with a Monte-Carlo simulation that further validates the value of this new bond given the potential risks to all investment choices given future equity, interest rate and inflation scenarios.