A Simple Guide to Variable Annuities

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Variable Annuities (VAs) constitute 60% or more of annuity sales annually.  This surprises me simply because most negative information about annuities in general is based on the structure of variable annuities.  To me it doesn’t make sense that 60% of people in or near retirement would want the associated complexity and cost.  Be that as […]

Ammo and Annuities

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Lately there are a lot of people asking about safety.  Although that is something everyone should consider, it seems to be a more pressing concern in the past few months.  There’s nothing new that should have people worried but it takes a different trigger for everyone.  Sure, federal spending is out of control but that’s […]

Annuity Straight Talk Podcast

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This week I am happy to introduce the culmination of a side project. It has taken nearly two months to get off the ground but will be a mainstay on this website for years to come.  The Annuity Straight Talk podcast will give everyone another option for consuming the information that will lead to sound […]

More Advisors Recommend Annuities

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A lot of things this year have been changing in my business but not in a way I would have expected even six months ago.  Since the beginning my focus has been on providing solid information and advice to consumers and that’s not about to change.  But rather than focus on finding more consumers I’ve […]

Which Annuity Would You Choose?

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I ran into a standard example last week when Sharon scheduled an appointment and asked for me to review an annuity proposal she had received.  Without naming names I’ll say that the proposal came from a large national firm that advertises aggressively for index annuity sales.  I know well how the company works and have […]

Annuities in a Retirement Portfolio

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Using annuities in retirement is an obvious choice whether the purpose is to create income, manage a portfolio or just grow money over time.  I’m becoming more direct with my commentary because several people who don’t like annuities have failed to come up with a reasonable alternative.  Sure you can get bonds, dividend stocks, REITs […]

Part II: Adjustable Index Annuity Rates

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Last week I tried to explain to everyone how rate adjustments work within an index annuity contract.  It’s an objective matter that offers little insight as to the structure but there is plenty of room allowed for the inquisitive mind to make a rational decision.  Even still, there are those who feel as though the […]

Index Annuity Rate Adjustments

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This is one topic I should have addressed a long time ago.  Insurance companies retain the right to make changes to rates inside an index annuity contract and lots of people take that to mean they are getting the raw end of the deal.  It seems to show evidence of less control for the consumer […]

Smart Annuities

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Safety and protection is the primary objective of using annuities.  Each type of annuity was created to protect your assets from at least one major risk in retirement.  Variable annuities let you invest in the market but protect you from taxes with non-qualified assets.  Fixed and fixed index annuities protect you from violent changes in […]

A Simple Stock Market Indicator

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Many of you know that I read Bloomberg news regularly.  Any subscriber gets an email each morning and evening with a few bulletpoints suggesting which is the most important economic news of the day.  Some of it is benign and some rather telling.  Everyone seems to want specific advice but general indicators are far more […]

Old Index Annuities Can Still Grow

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This is just a little something that may help those who have one of the biggest index annuity objections.  Many don’t like the fact that interest rates, meaning cap and participation rates in contracts can change from year to year.  Never mind the economics that explain option pricing, popular thought suggests that insurance companies are […]

Guaranteed Success in Retirement

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Attending webinars is a big part of this job.  I probably have time for about two per week but there are dozens more available on topics relating to all sorts of retirement products and strategies.  There’s definitely an opportunity in this business to be a professional student and I have to be fairly picky with […]

Pros and Cons of Expert Annuity Advice

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Late last week someone emailed to ask for my take on an article about indexed annuities from John, the Vice President of Research at Morningstar.  Given the writer’s experience with financial markets, I was curious to see whether he’d give annuities a fair assessment.  But it turns out that he doesn’t know a whole lot […]

Where Do Index Annuities Fit?

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Uncertainty is one of the greatest roadblocks that stands in the way of creating a solid retirement plan.  It comes in many forms that don’t always relate to the direction of equity markets, interest rates or general economic forecasts.  Yes, uncertainty does affect every person’s ability to know when to make changes but it also […]

Annuities by the Numbers

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Well it turns out that there is something of a fourth installment of my series that I was supposed to have finished last week.  I’ve told enough stories and you all are probably tired of it.  Let’s add some numbers so I can show you how my learning, evolution and solutions stack up to a […]

Part III: Annuity Solutions

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The first six or seven years of my career in financial services was not always easy but it was simple.  I learned the basic fundamentals of good planning and figured out how to look at things critically in order to find solutions for those who were able to think outside the box.  In the early […]

Part II: My Annuity Evolution

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Like I said last week, it was all fixed annuities for me in the beginning.  It may sound boring but if those same rates were available today then I’d spend every hour of the day completing applications.  The pain from a market correction in 2001 was real and several people understood the value of asset […]

Part I: How I Learned about Annuities

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My wife and I don’t agree on politics, so we don’t talk about it.  I’ve always been up for a good argument or debate but she doesn’t like confrontation.  Whenever the topic comes up it’s unintentional.  She asked me how I became such a conspiracy theorist.  Well that makes me sound like a bit of […]

Review of Annuities and 2020

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Before we look forward to all the things that may change this year let’s get our bearings and review the past year.  You’ve all heard me say over and over that perspective is important and that’s never truer than when we may be facing a dramatically different financial environment.  2020 was an interesting year to […]

Allianz Benefit Control

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More than a dozen people have asked me about this in the past month which tells me that many multiples of that have also seen it.  Allianz has always had the largest distribution system for index annuities and that’s why so many people see the products, not because there is an incredible value for consumers. […]