Retirement Income Industry Association

The View Across The Silos


Welcome to the home of the Retirement Management Journal and the RIIA Virtual Learning Center.

In this section of the website, you’ll find everything you need to know a out the RMJ and the VLC, both of which are designed to promote and expand the body of retirement-income knowledge.

Retirement Management Journal
Launched in October 2011, the Retirement Management Journal (RMJ) is the first professional journal designed to promote research, scholarship and innovative thinking on retirement-management and retirement-income topics that contribute to the profession’s and industry’s body of knowledge as well as to the curriculum for RIIA’s Retirement Management AnalystSM (RMASM) designation.Founded in large part by the financial support of Allianz Global Investors, this peer-reviewed journal centralizes retirement-income and retirement-management papers and in doing so serves the needs of a wide cross section of professionals, including financial advisers, executives, and scholars.The RMJSM also serves to help those who have achieved the RMASM advanced designation fulfill their continuing education requirement. Learn more about the RMA.

The Virtual Learning Center is the industry’s premier resource for web-based live as well as archived lectures and presentations on retirement-income research, products, and strategies for the benefit of personnel at home offices and institutions and financial advisors.

Read the press release.

Learn more about the Virtual Learning Center

The publication’s goals are to:

  1. Become a leading source on retirement-income and retirement-management topics for wide-cross section of professionals.
  2. Create a forum on the emerging and promising field of retirement income not sufficiently addressed by existing silo-based industry groups, professionals, and publications

The Retirement Management JournalSM is a publication of RIIA.


Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of the Retirement Management Journal℠ (RMJ), a special double issue that features both academic and practitioner peer-reviewed papers.

As you will read, this issue features papers that continue to expand the body of retirement-planning knowledge and, equally if not more importantly, challenge conventional wisdom.

Chief among the contributions is the winner of our third annual Academic Thought Leadership Award – The True Impact of Single Premium Immediate Annuities On Retirement Sustainability: A TotalWealth Perspective co-written byMichael Kitces,MSFS,MTAX, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, CASL, a partner
and director of research at Pinnacle Advisory Group and Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA, a professor of retirement income at the American College.

Mr. Kitces and Dr. Pfau examine how to finance a particular spending goal, which is an inflation-adjusted amount equal to either 4% or 6% of initial retirement date assets, and how to sustain that income stream for as long as possible in retirement.

In their paper, the authors examine the relative success of static portfolios, stock/single premium income annuity (SPIA) portfolios, and dynamic stock/bond portfolios that match the glide path of a stock/SPIA strategy, in order to separate the impact of the glide path and the impact of mortality credits into their component parts.

What they found is this: Prior studies, which indicated a benefit to partially annuitizing a retiree’s portfolio, were often actually showing the benefits of a rising equity glide path using a bucketed liquidation strategy that spends down fixed assets first and allows the household equity allocation to rise.

The authors’ research shows that SPIAs can enhance retirement success, but retirees must live well past life expectancy before the unique mortality credit contribution from SPIAs provide material benefits. In essence, the authors suggest that the primary scenarios where SPIAs should be used are specifically those where the intent is to hedge significant longevity risk beyond life expectancy and where the benefit of mortality credits begin to dominate. For most retirees, however, the authors say retirement outcomes can be improved by simply implementing the rising equity glide path that bucketed SPIA strategies indirectly create, without the annuity contract itself. No doubt this paper will generate significant debate among those in the retirement-planning profession and industry. We encourage you to discuss this paper on the Retirement Income Industry Association’s LinkedIn Discussion Group.

In addition, this issue features the winner of our fourth annual Practitioner Thought Leadership Award – Financial Behaviors of Clients In or Near Retirement: What Advisers Need to Know written by Helen Simon, DBA, CFP®, RMA. Dr. Simon has been on the faculty of Florida International University (FIU) in Miami since 2003 and teaches classes in Investments and Risk Management.

Dr. Simon’s paper seeks to pinpoint behavioral biases, identified by literature in the field of behavioral finance, that are of particular concern to advisers who work with clients both close to and already in retirement. The literature suggests that hyper loss aversion and overconfidence are significant behavioral pitfalls, which may well be amplified by bounded rationality. This paper further seeks to coach advisers in how they might overcome these issues through actively listening, educating and learning to sincerely share client concerns after discovering the roots of these very real trepidations.

In addition, this issue features another paper that explores how to create a sustainable drawdown strategy. The paper, Asset Valuations and Safe Portfolio Withdrawal Rates, was co-written by David Blanchett, CFA, CFP®, head of retirement research at Morningstar Investment Management, Michael Finke, Ph.D., CFP®, a professor and Ph.D. coordinator at the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University, and Dr. Pfau.

In their paper, the authors find that the safety of a given withdrawal strategy is significantly affected by the initial bond yield and cyclically adjusted priceto-earnings (CAPE) ratio value at retirement, and that the relative impact varies based on the portfolio equity allocation.

Using valuation measures current as of April 15, 2013, for instance a bond yield of 2% and a CAPE of 22, the authors found that the probability of success for a 40% equity allocation with a 4% initial withdrawal rate over a 30-year period was approximately 48%. That success rate was materially lower than past studies and has sobering implications on the likelihood of success for retirees today as well as how much those near retirement may need to save to ensure a successful retirement.

Another paper that deserves your attention is Take the Money: Should You Draw Social Security Benefits Early? by Herman Manakyan, Danny Ervin and E. Tylor Claggett, all of whom are professors of finance at the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University.

As many know, deciding when to begin Social Security retirement benefits can be a complicated and complex process. To do correctly, youmust examine a number of qualitative and quantitative factors such as risk aversion, life expectancy, cash flow needs, other sources of income, family circumstances, and the like. In their study, the authors provide a quantitative framework based on simulation analyses powered by 85 years ofmarket data to compare various Social Security claiming strategies. What they found, perhaps contrary to what is becoming conventional wisdom, is that early claiming strategies which invest the early benefits in portfolios containing both equity and debt to support additional future income have high likelihoods of producing larger lifetime present values of cash flows than the comparable Social Security deferral options.

That’s just a taste of what you’ll read in this issue. As always, we hope that you enjoy our latest issue of the RMJ, which I should note doesn’t become a reality without the help of our peer reviewers. Thanks again for your continuing support of the RMJ, and do contact us if you are interested in publishing a paper, supporting the RMJ financially, and/or distributing the RMJ to your constituents.

And lastly, I should note that the current and all back issues of the Retirement Management Journal are now available for purchase on

Robert J. Powell, III
Editor & Publisher,

Summer 2013 Issue

The Summer 2013 issue of the Retirement Management Journal (RMJ), Vol. 3, No. 2, features the work of the Retirement Income Industry Association’s (RIIA) Research Committee and is now available to members and subscribers.


Led by Elvin Turner, RIIA’s Research Committee Chair – Research Committee members include principals from Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Strategic Business Insights, and Morningstar, to name but a few – continues to break new ground and the papers in this issue – the RMJ’s second-ever Research Committee issue – bear that out.