More retirement plans will soon have annuity options amid what one money manager calls 'the silent crisis of financial insecurity'

Some of the nation’s money management giants are tackling the growing concern that more Americans may begin to outlive their retirement savings.

Starting in the fall, Fidelity will let plan participants convert some of their retirement savings into an immediate income annuity to provide pension-like payments throughout retirement.

Fidelity Investments is the nation’s largest provider of 401(k) plans. The financial services firm handles more than 35 million retirement accounts in total.

BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors, two of the largest asset managers, also announced target-date funds with retirement income annuity options.

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“As Americans are living longer and healthier lives, their risk of outliving their savings is accelerating the ‘silent crisis’ of financial insecurity in retirement,” Mark McCombe, BlackRock’s chief client officer, said in a statement.

Most workers want some sort of guaranteed monthly income in retirement to help ensure they don’t outlive their savings, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

The passage of the Secure Act also made it easier for employers to offer annuities as one retirement savings plan option.

Having an annuity option when you retire is a good thing.

Carolyn McClanahan

founder of Life Planning Partners

Now, insurance companies, asset managers and employers are moving toward making these guaranteed lifetime income options more broadly available through 401(k) and other defined contribution plans.

“Having an annuity option when you retire is a good thing for people who are not feeling confident,” said Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner and founder of Life Planning Partners, based in Jacksonville, Florida.

But with any annuity, make sure you are comparing the offerings and the fees, added McClanahan, who also is a member of CNBC’s Advisor Council.  

Annuity sales hit a record last year

Annuities have also been benefiting from higher interest rates, which generally translate to insurers paying a better return on investment.

“Certainly annuity payouts are so much more attractive now,” said Keri Dogan, senior vice president of retirement solutions at Fidelity.

Dogan said she expects the interest in annuities will continue to grow “because you get so much more for your money.”