NEW YORK ( Daily Finance) -- After last week's intense, if short-lived, stock-market crash, immediate fixed annuities might be looking good, especially to older investors. In fact, a new study finds that investors tend to base their annuity decisions on very recent market trends, making them more likely to annuitize during a market drop. But that approach can take a big toll on your retirement wealth. With an annuity, an investor trades a large lump sum of money for a stream of monthly income for life. It's often a difficult decision for investors because the choice is irreversible. In an ideal world, a retiree would annuitize their savings when their portfolio has increased in value, because it gives them the opportunity to sell their stocks, collect the gains and exchange them for a larger monthly annuity payment. But Alessandro Previtero, a finance professor at University of Western Ontario, found that investors do just the opposite: Frightened by market declines, they are more likely to annuitize when their portfolios have taken a hit. Meanwhile, when the market is rising, investors avoid annuitizing because they expect further gains.
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