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Monday, February 22, 2010

Good bye 401k?

In late 2008 we heard of House Of Representatives hearings on the the possibility of the government taking over 401k and similiar plans. Until early January we had not heard of anything, however, in January President Obama proposed a new program based on the Administration's Middle Class Task Force. I will be forwarding you an article that appeared in Business Week and in Bloomberg regarding the proposals. The attached article goes a bit farther.

Please read it and let me know what you think!

Retiree Annuities May Be Promoted by Obama Aides
By Theo Francis

The government is looking at ways to promote the conversion of 401(k)s and IRAs into steady payment streams after a significant decline in plan balances

(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration is weighing how the government can encourage workers to turn their savings into guaranteed income streams following a collapse in retiree accounts when the stock market plunged.

The U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments will ask for public comment as soon as next week on ways to promote the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams, according to Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Iwry, who are spearheading the effort.

Annuities generally guarantee income until the retiree's death, and often that of a surviving spouse as well. They are designed to protect against the risk that retirees outlive their savings, a danger made clear by market losses suffered by older Americans over the last year, David Certner, legislative counsel for AARP, said in an interview.

"There's a real desire on a lot of people's parts to try to encourage something other than just rolling over a lump sum, to make sure this money will actually last a lifetime," said Certner, legislative counsel for Washington-based AARP, the biggest U.S. advocacy group for retirees.

Promoting annuities may benefit companies that provide them through employers, including ING Groep NV (INGA:NA) and Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU), or sell them directly to individuals, such as American International Group Inc. (AIG), the insurer that has received $182.3 billion in government aid...