Modern Retirement Planning Insights from Ancient Greece

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In ancient Greece, there were two different forms of the word “time”: chronos, which aligns with our understanding of time as chronological or sequential, and kairos. Kairos is not a date or a number on the clock, but a critical time or passing instance of an opportune moment. Although there is no equivalent word to kairos in modern English, we all have experienced windows of opportunity that have produced better results than if we acted at another time.

When we keep in mind that opportunities are grounded in specific moments with particular conditions, we can better understand when and why certain opportunities should be taken. Recently, a large number of retirement-bound Americans have purchased annuities, driving curiosity among Americans as to when and why they should purchase one. To understand why so many retirement-bound Americans are purchasing annuities – and why now is such a critical window of opportunity – it is vital to know about the relationship between annuity payout rates and interest rates.

In the graph below, the green and pink lines represent the historical payout rates of annuities, and the dashed black line reflects corporate bond rates. Annuity income rates follow the bond market, indicating a correlation between high-interest rates and high-annuity returns.

est. monthly income for $100,000 premium