Research on health events and retirement savings wins 21st annual Paul A. Samuelson Award

NEW YORK (January 6, 2017) – The TIAA Institute today announced that Felix Reichling of the Congressional Budget Office and Kent Smetters of the Wharton School have won the 21st annual TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security. The Samuelson Award recognizes outstanding research that the private and public sectors can use to maintain and enhance Americans’ financial well-being.

The researchers were awarded for their paper, “Optimal Annuitization with Stochastic Mortality and Correlated Medical Costs,” which examined how households looking to optimize their lifelong financial well-being should factor in potential health events.
"We are honored to receive this year’s Samuelson Award and to be in the company of the past winners and their groundbreaking research on financial security and retirement planning,” said Samuelson Award winners Felix Reichling and Kent Smetters.  “We hope that our work will help to ensure that Americans make sound decisions with their retirement savings, and we thank the TIAA Institute for this great recognition.”

“I want to congratulate Felix Reichling and Kent Smetters on compiling an outstanding piece of research and data that will help Americans plan for retirement,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, Senior Managing Director and Head of TIAA Institute. “This thorough analysis will be a useful tool for financial advisors and other stakeholders in helping their clients pick the best option for lifelong financial security.  We believe that lifetime income products, like annuities, are essential for many individuals to achieve a financially secure retirement.”
“This paper addresses what factors influence households’ decisions to annuitize, a topic that is extremely important for lifelong financial well-being,” said Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University, one of this year’s Samuelson Award judges. “One of many things the paper makes clear is that incomplete markets to insure against disability and long-term care expenditure risk can influence annuity markets. I expect the findings will help shape product innovation that will ultimately improve financial security for many and I’m thrilled this paper was chosen to win the TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award this year.”

About the TIAA Institute

The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The Institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success.  For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit .

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TIAA ( is a unique financial partner. With an award-winning1 track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $915 billion in assets under management2 (as of 9/30/2016) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and guidance, and retirement services.

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1 The Thomson Reuters Lipper Large Fund Award is given to the group with the lowest average decile ranking of three years’ Consistent Return for eligible funds over the three-year period ended 11/30/12, 11/30/13, 11/30/14 and 11/30/15, respectively. TIAA was ranked among 36 fund companies in 2012, 48 fund companies in 2013 and 2014, and 37 fund companies in 2015 with at least five equity, five bond or three mixed-asset portfolios. Classification averages are calculated with all eligible share classes for each eligible classification. The calculation periods extend over 36, 60 and 120 months. The highest Lipper Leader for Consistent Return (Effective Return) value within each eligible classification determines the fund classification winner over three, five or 10 years. A detailed awards methodology can be found at For current performance and rankings, please visit the Research and Performance section on Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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