What You Need to Know

With less-than-inspiring prospects for market returns, investors face a stiff challenge in generating efficient income while still bestowing a legacy at the end of retirement. Reaching beyond traditional market building blocks to embrace annuities’ income-generating power could go a long way toward tackling the income challenge.

Annualized growth rate

expected for a 60/40 balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds over the next 10 years

Expected annual lifetime retirement income

from a balanced portfolio when keeping plan failure risk below 1%

Expected annual lifetime retirement income

from a 50/50 VA and balanced portfolio blend when keeping plan failure below 1%

As the path back from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, accompanied by massive stimulus measures, markets have generally fared well. As the recovery progresses, however, eventually the return-to-normal trade will fully play out.

At that point, the same issues that existed before the pandemic will remain, only more acute because stimulus has pulled returns forward in time. In this case, the capital markets landscape will put a strain on traditional investment strategies—and income investing won’t escape the pitfalls. What investors do next will go a long way toward determining success or failure in securing income and legacies.

Capital Markets Headwinds Are Intensifying

As we look out over the next decade, we see three secular headwinds—changing demographics, deglobalization and high debt levels—converging (Display). In our view, this combination will slow economic growth and make investing—whether it’s for income, growth or a combination of the two—much more challenging in the years ahead.

A falling working-age population, slowing world trade and rising government debt

A rising tide of globalization has made world trade a support pillar for economic growth and wealth creation for many years. Recently, though, that tide has started to ebb, driven by wide-ranging factors including rising wages in emerging markets (including China), resurgent populism and trade wars, and the desire to balance risk management with cost savings as a result of COVID-19-related global supply-chain disruptions.

Finally, the debt burden of the world’s major economies has exploded. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the ratio of sovereign debt to gross domestic product topped 100%; that load is now approaching 140%. Not only does a growing pile of debt divert more of government budgets to servicing debt, it also ties the hands of central banks as they seek to manage inflation and growth.

Past performance, historical and current analyses, and expectations do not guarantee future results.

The views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice or trade recommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all AB portfolio-management teams and are subject to revision over time.

Clients Only

The content you have selected is for clients only. If you are a client, please continue to log in. You will then be able to open and read this content.