Los Angeles partner Fred Reish shared his thoughts with Barron's on the subject of annuities — contracts entered into with insurance companies that convert lump sums into a stream of guaranteed income.

An annuity's basic features of downside protection and guaranteed payouts, once considered too costly, have proved invaluable for those affected by the stock market crash of 2008.

What was once malinged as an "expensive gimmick" is now considered an important part of a retirement plan.

Fred, a member of the firm's Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group and chair of the Financial Services ERISA Team, noted that "we've come from thinking that stocks and bonds were the answer to everything, to worrying about how to arrange for monthly income to age 80 and beyond. ... Annuities can take away that worry."

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Source: Barron's