John Hancock Retirement Plan Services has launched and commenced enrolling employees in its new Guaranteed Income for Life, an optional rider on its 401k plans to help participants protect and build their retirement savings.

Guaranteed Income for Life (GIFL) allows participants to invest some or all of their 401(k) funds in one or more of four John Hancock Lifestyle Funds to create a benefit base.

The benefit base, which is guaranteed, is used to calculate a 5% lifetime income amount (LIA) at the time of distribution. Once distributions begin, participants can receive the LIA for the rest of their lives.

Once a year, on the participant’s anniversary date, if the market value of the funds with the guarantee option is higher than the benefit base, the benefit base is automatically increased to equal the market value, locking in market gains to the benefit base. Step-ups can occur both before and after the LIA has been set.

Ed Eng, senior vice president of John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, said: As individuals rely more heavily on 401(k) plans for their retirement funding, plan sponsors are looking for options that offer their employees more certainty.

We believe that adding Guaranteed Income for Life to their plans is the right solution because it helps minimize some of the common risks encountered in retirement, like retiring in a down market or outliving retirement savings.