Does Anyone Have Too Much Money to Use an Annuity?

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It’s a great question that I got a few weeks ago during a meeting and it stumped me for just a second.  Dianne and Fred have saved more than enough for retirement and their income needs are modest in comparison to the total portfolio value.  They are also young, both under the age of 60, […]

More Important Than Money in Retirement

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One benefit of picking my brain that many people don’t realize has nothing to do with asset management or annuity shopping.  I’ve talked to hundreds of people just like you.  I hear stories of both failure and success or good choices and bad.  My recommendations are not only based on what I know about retirement […]

How to Beat a Guaranteed Income Contract

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During Preparation for a meeting this week I was running numbers and comparing options for a couple in California.  They had recently been to a dinner seminar to get some answers to retirement questions.  Of course the follow-up meeting included an annuity pitch so they decided to do some research online to verify whether they […]

Index Annuities That Grow When the Market Drops

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Timing is a deciding factor for a lot of people.  Interest rates and stock market performance keep people locked in to current holdings and nervous about making changes.  If rates were higher many would find it easier to shift toward protecting assets.  Instead there are those who hang on to old habits and currently have […]

Why I Call It The Flex Strategy

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Regardless of your expectations when you first hit the website, you should know by now that I try to get everyone to think about annuities differently.  Most of you come here with a general interest in annuities, trying to find a solution to a specific problem.  If I join the chorus and just stick with […]

An Annuity Success Story

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Frankie and Linda are like family.  We met in 2011 when Frankie was doing what most of you are doing, trying to find the right way to distribute retirement assets.  They had made the rounds through several online salespeople and contacted me for an opinion on some of the offers they had seen. I talk […]

How Will Lower Rates Affect Annuities?

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For the past year or so the Federal Reserve has been steadily increasing rates at every meeting.  Response from consumer product rates was similar as we saw modest rate increases in all types of financial vehicles.  Mortgages may be a touch more expensive but options for conservative savings gave people better opportunities for safe income […]

The Reality of Roth Conversions

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If your goal is to never pay taxes again then converting qualified assets to a Roth IRA is one way to do it.  But if you really just want to pay the least amount of taxes over time then it may be best to leave your assets right where they are and adopt a different […]

How to Really Maximize Social Security

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It’s the foundation of many retirement plans.  You all paid into it so everyone is entitled to receive something in return after years of contributions.  As part of planning for retirement you need to get an estimate of benefits and compare different strategies for getting the most from the system.  It makes retirement easier by […]

The Difference between Sales and Advice

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It dawned on me last week that I’m giving people advice and competing with other advisors who are just trying to make sales.  There’s a big difference between the two.  No one likes the hard-selling guy who only emphasizes the positives without mentioning potential negatives. In fact, most people end up finding this site while […]

Index Annuities Explained on One Page

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Lots of people tend to overthink big financial decisions.  It happens all the time with annuities.  When you’ve heard constantly from other sources that annuities are complicated then your search is started with a negative opinion, grounded in nothing but someone else’s opinion.  You’ve probably owned mutual funds before but I doubt that many of […]

How Commissions Affect Annuity Sales

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Everyone either asks about it or thinks about it.  Journalists write about it and competitors criticize it.  Annuities pay commissions to the agents who sell them and that’s just how this part of the industry works.  It’s ok to be concerned about this because the amount of money a salesperson gets does make a difference […]

When and How to Retire

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Last week a loyal reader of the weekly newsletters responded to me and asked if I’d give some advice specific to his situation.  He correctly assumed that others were in a similar position and it would help himself and other people who are trying to decide when and how to retire.  So I’m going to […]

Annuities Are Not Just for Income

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It’s time to set the record straight.  After hearing this in the vast majority of my meetings so far this year I have realized that the industry mantra has permeated the subconscious of most retirees.  Since my strategies focus on how to enhance performance in comparison to lifetime income products, I often take for granted […]

The Danger with High Expectations

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Over the past few weeks I have come across a couple proposals from other advisors that have revealed something of a trend throughout my career.  Certain annuity illustrations can be made to produce spectacular numbers and it’s fine if someone chooses to believe those results will happen but more realistic expectations will give you a […]

I Didn’t Sell My Dad an Annuity

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The point of this whole operation is not just to sell as many annuities as possible.   A lot of time and effort goes into making sure people don’t make mistakes and that results in me not selling annuities most of the time.  Some people get it and some people don’t.  Annuities work for some but […]

How to Choose the Best Annuity

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This is always a tough issue to address because there is no objective definition for the best annuity.  Last week one of my readers sent me the link for Barron’s Top 50 Annuities of 2018.  The highly regarded financial publication puts a list out every year and Steve wanted to know my thoughts. Barron’s list […]

I Can’t Believe a CFP Designed This Plan

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Long considered to be the benchmark for ethical behavior in the financial services industry, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is thought by many to be a necessary qualification for anyone who gives financial advice. The CFP designation does not, however, exempt anyone from criticism who implements a retirement plan that is poorly conceived and […]

What’s So Great about Bonds?

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The traditional safe haven for investors is one thing I see with just about every plan and I’m not sure I agree with such widespread use of this asset class.  Bonds are a consistent source of interest payments and usually come with much less volatility than the stock market.  For those reasons bonds have been […]

The Problem with Guaranteed Lifetime Income

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During meetings people frequently comment that they know I don’t like guaranteed lifetime income.  I guess I do understand why people say that since most of my writing and advice centers around finding the best deal and guaranteed lifetime is only the best deal in a very specific situation. So it surprises me to know […]