There's been a lot written recently about the "annuity anomaly." You know what that is. That's the idea stating the "rational man" will buy an annuity under certain, specific circumstances. That's what all those fancy academic experiments tell us. Trouble is, once you move those certain, specific circumstances off the blackboard and into the real world, people behave differently. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Oh, this is just another one of those articles about the well-documented problems with Modern Portfolio Theory." If that's what you're thinking, then this is what I say to you (in my best Nelson Muntz – he's the bully on the Simpsons – impersonation): "Ha ha!" 

Don't be fooled by my use of the term "rational man." Yes, that's an artifact from MPT. Yes, much of what has been learned from behavioral finance has shredded the concept behind that term. Ironically, though, it is that same area of study that proclaims investors should buy annuities. They don't actually use the term "rational man," but their conclusions, when compared to what happens in day-to-day living, has the imprimatur of the "rational man." It's like those behavioral professors are saying, "people behave irrationally, but in predictable ways." 

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook ( Twitter (