You want to know how to sell more annuities? You do it by selling less of them. At least that's the way it sounds if you read a new study about to be published in the Journal of Public Economics.

Here's the deal. For some reason, those fellows in ivy-covered halls seem to think it's in the mathematically calculated best interests of retirees to annuitize their savings rather than take a single lump-sum payment. In real life, the vast majority of retirees – assuming they even have the option to annuitize – would rather go through the headaches associated with a considerable amount of paperwork just to avoid annuitization. Government regulators believe this lack of adoration for annuities is a problem.

A normal person might say this behavior signals a rather stark dearth of enthusiasm for annuities. Apparently, a vast majority of retirees have neglected to determine their mathematically calculated best interests. Researchers call this the "Annuity Puzzle." Much like Modern Portfolio Theory's "Equity Premium Puzzle," the Annuity Puzzle has perplexed finance professors for some time.

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