The number one question on most retirees’ minds is: “Will I run out of money before I run out of breath?” The answer to this question all comes down to making sure your investments provide steady growth, but more importantly they are protected.
Information collected from the AARP indicates that 8 out of 10 retirees do not know what they pay annually in account fees. Most believe they pay little, or nothing, but in reviewing hundreds of clients’ accounts over the past decade, we’ve found that the average cost per year per plan is 2%. This 2% is based on the entire account balance, not just new growth.
Other factors to consider that may impact your finances in retirement are inflation and loss of spousal support. Drafting strategic plans that offer inflation protection and generate lifetime income for the duration of both spouses’ lives are essential for many clients. In many cases, utilizing an annuity can help achieve these aspects of your retirement portfolio while also reducing account fees and eliminating exposure to market volatility.
An annuity is a contract offered through an insurance company. Typically, funds are placed into an annuity for a pre-determined amount of time and then can either be used as a source of annual income or can be withdrawn as a lump sum at the end of that period, if desired.
There are many different varieties of annuities available, each designed to perform a specific task. For instance, a fixed annuity’s primary function is to provide a fixed interest rate for guaranteed amount of time. The interest rate is generally higher than those given by banks and offers less liquidity.
An immediate annuity is designed to provide an income stream beginning 30 days from investment. This is used for clients who need to supplement their retirement income for a certain period of time without any surprises.
A fixed-indexed annuity is primary used as a hybrid of growth potential linked to a market index, but with the guarantee that no money will be lost in the event of a market downturn. Because of this guaranteed, protected growth, indexed annuities are by far the most popular retirement-planning tool. Indexed annuities can be tailored to fulfill lifetime income or legacy planning needs. Some even offer extra assistance in paying for long-term care if needed. Adding too many features, however, can greatly reduce a plan’s earning potential since each feature incurs an annual fee.
Most clients don’t require all these bells and whistles – at least not right away. Using what we refer to as a simplified accumulation annuity, we strip down the plan to its most basic form which allows for the greatest growth potential with zero annual fees. There are three main indexes – the S & P 500, the DOW Jones and the Nasdaq – but there are many smaller, less volatile indexes that have become increasingly attractive to our clients over the past six years.
An annuity is not the solution to every possible problem that may arise within a retirement portfolio but should be seriously considered for those assets that you cannot afford to lose. Like any other investment or retirement tool, its efficacy is determined by appropriate understanding and application. An expert surgeon with a scalpel could operate with the highest probability of success. If you gave me a scalpel and told me to recreate the same outcome, I’m sure I would be unsuccessful. Same tool – it’s all about how, and by whom, they are utilized.
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Cussen, Mark. “The Truth About Indexed Annuities And Market Risk.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Apr. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/impactpartners/2019/04/08/the-truth-about-indexed-annuities-and-market-risk/#65cda8827efb.