While the introduction of Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIA) to defined contribution plans has enabled sponsors to help participants accumulate retirement savings, a new study released by Richmond, Virginia-based Genworth Financial during the company’s 2008 Retirement Symposium in May has revealed that adding guaranteed income to a QDIA offers even greater upside to individuals. Guaranteed income, Genworth says, can help to avert the risk of ruin for participants and help them generate even higher income levels in retirement.

According to the study, the addition of guaranteed income products allows 401(k) participants to benefit from strong financial markets, while also offering protection against periods of poor market returns. Additionally, with increasing retirement expenses and longer life spans, participants can lock in the certainty of having a source of guaranteed lifetime income.

Conducted by Oliver Wyman in partnership with Mercer Retirement Consulting, the study, Providing for Secure Retirements: Guaranteed Income as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative, shows that adding guaranteed lifetime income to a traditional target date or balanced fund can increase a 401(k) participant’s starting retirement income by up to 53% and improve average retirement income by up to 30%.

According to the study, an individual retiring at age 65 who annually withdraws an inflation adjusted 5% of his or her initial account balance from a target date fund, stands a 75% chance of running out of money by age 95, Genworth says in a statement. The addition of products like ClearCourse, a variable annuity offered by Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, can go a long way toward countering that process.