Recent events and trends have thrust the topic of lifetime income products for retirement plans into the limelight. Retirements among the leading edge of Baby Boomers, medical advances increasing Americans' longevity, the market swoon of 2008 and continuing volatility in the financial markets have all contributed to a consensus that today's workers need options for their defined contribution plans that mimic the retirement income benefits of a defined benefit plan.

Earlier this year, the White House's Middle Class Task Force recommended initiatives to make it easier for Americans to save for retirement. This included promoting "the availability of guaranteed lifetime income products, which transform at least a portion of retirees' savings into guaranteed future income, reducing the risks that retirees will outlive their savings or that their living standards will be eroded by investment losses or inflation" (Annual Report of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, February 2010).

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