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Income For Life, Guaranteed! (Sort Of)

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 11:55 AM
From SmartMoney.com
"Your check is in the mail."

American investors have seldom seemed more eager to hear those words -- especially when it comes to locking in income for their older years. Ever since the 2008 crash, when Joe and Mary Mainstreet lost faith in the stock market, millions of people have poured their savings into investments that return some kind of regular paycheck, whether bonds, annuities or (for the bold) stocks that pay dividends. And the hunt for income has only become more intense as the enormous baby boomer demographic bulge reaches retirement age, with some 10,000 boomers turning 65 each day. Indeed, converting savings into a living has become "the holy grail of every working stiff," says Dan Culloton, associate director of fund analysis for Morningstar.

And yet, in one of the biggest frustrations facing retirees today, reeling in a check that's both reliable and big enough to pay the bills has begun to seem like a pipe dream. Increasingly, alarmed investors are finding that "guaranteed" payouts offer only penny-ante 1 and 2 percent returns....

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