Working out how to provide a sustainable income from your retirement savings is "the nastiest, hardest problem in finance", says William Sharpe, the man who won the Nobel Prize for economics for a theory on how to match investment gains with risk. The financial services industry calls the phase of your life when you stop accumulating savings, and draw on them instead, as your "decumulation" phase. Most of us embark on it after our retirement funds pay out a lump sum that we must use to buy a pension. But even though a Nobel laureate thinks figuring out how best to draw an income is tough, nine out of 10 of us choose to go it alone, or with an adviser, in an investment-linked living annuity in which you take a gamble on your investments providing enough income. Recent low returns have the newly launched South African Independent Financial Advisers' Association talking about "the looming living annuity crisis" that will arise as more retirees are forced to decrease their pensions. Ris...

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