Annuity Guys® Annuity Rates, Features & Ratings: America's trusted annuity resource. Compare best options for hybrid, index, fixed, variable & immediate annuity quotes. Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:29:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hybrid Annuity Sales Hit All Time Highs! Do You Know Why? Sat, 13 Sep 2014 06:00:51 +0000 Record numbers of retirees and savers are flocking to fixed and fixed index annuities – why?

For many baby boomers , the great recession is still ingrained into their thoughts as they make plans for their retirement. The thought of losing 30-40% or more of their portfolio in the stock market has sent them out seeking safer growth options; while other baby boomers seek the safeguard of knowing that they will have lifetime guarantees for their foundational income in retirement.

The insurance industry is on pace to issue $100,000,000,000.00 (that’s one hundred billion dollars) in just fixed and fixed index annuities this year alone! With banks offering safe money rates that hover just over zero, we should not be surprised by the number of people flocking into contractually guaranteed growth and income options. However, this is most likely not the only reason for this level of annuity sales growth. Annuities have traditionally paid better rates than the banks so the growth of sales should not be based upon higher interest rates alone. [continued below video...]

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Video: Annuity Guys, Dick & Eric, discuss why it seems like everyone wants a “hybrid” Fixed Index Annuity!

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According to AARP, about 8000 people will turn 65 everyday from now until 2029. These baby boomers have seen one of the greatest bull markets of all time during the eighties and nineties followed by substantial market volatility and more recently a “lost decade” of market gains. They appear to be interested in preserving their wealth and income in retirement and many are willing to give up some of the market’s upside potential to protect against market backslides. There may not be empirical evidence to support the fact that retirees are valuing the guarantees that annuities offer, but the dollars seem to be speaking loudly that boomers believe that annuities are a good option for retirement planning.

Is now the right time to join the crowd moving a portion of one’s savings into fixed or hybrid fixed index annuities? It depends – do you feel the need to protect retirement dollars from losses resulting from the next big correction in the equities market? Do you want a predictable, stable income stream that you cannot outlive? Do you wish you had your parents company sponsored pension plan? Does the fear of outliving or losing your money keep you up at night? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to join the millions of satisfied annuity owners who value the way these financial products secure their retirement.

The inspiration for this weeks entry came from our friends at the Insured Retirement Institute.

IRI Second-Quarter 2014 Annuity Sales Report: Industry-Wide Sales at Highest Level in Three Years

Indexed Annuities Power Fixed Annuity Sales to Five-Year High; Variable Annuity Sales Up from First Quarter

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today announced final second-quarter 2014 sales results for the U.S. annuity industry, based on data reported by Beacon Research and Morningstar, Inc. Reaching the highest mark in three years, industry-wide annuity sales in the second quarter of 2014 rose to $59.9 billion, a 6.8 percent increase from $56.1 billion in the previous quarter and a 9.9 percent increase from $54.5 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

Fixed annuity sales – supported by record fixed indexed annuity sales – increased to $24.3 billion in the second quarter of 2014, according to Beacon Research. This was a 7.6 percent increase from $22.6 billion in the previous quarter and a 41.6 percent increase from $17.1 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Variable annuity total sales reached $35.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014, according to Morningstar. This was a 6.2 percent increase from $33.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014, but a 4.6 percent decline from $37.3 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

“These are the highest industry-wide sales we’ve seen in three years, and on the fixed side of the market, the highest in five years,” said Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO. “We continue to see moderate growth, driven by consumer need for protection and income, in all types of retirement income products, and more robust growth in certain products based on the macroeconomic conditions of the day. For example, the market is currently experiencing a surge in the sale of fixed indexed annuities that – in addition to offering upside potential with downside protection and access to guaranteed lifetime income – can be used by consumers as an alternative to traditional fixed income investments without the interest rate risk.”

According to Beacon Research, continued growth in fixed annuity sales were largely supported by a surge in fixed indexed annuity sales, which hit a new quarterly record of $12.9 billion in the second quarter of 2014. This represents a 14.8 percent increase from first-quarter 2014 sales of $11.2 billion and a 41.5 percent increase from second-quarter 2013 sales of $9.1 billion. Income annuity sales also rose during the second quarter of 2014, topping $3.39 billion – a 3.2 percent increase from nearly $3.29 billion in the previous quarter and a 32.7 percent jump from $2.56 billion in the second quarter of 2013. For the entire fixed annuity market, there were approximately $12.5 billion in qualified sales and $11.8 billion in non-qualified sales during the second quarter of 2014. [Read More...]



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Are Hybrid Annuity Income Riders Stacked in Your Favor? Sat, 06 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 We must own up to our play on words this week. One of the more recent popular income riders strategies is referred to as the “stacking” strategy. Of course we found our title quite witty while most of you are probably thinking – these guys really need to get out more.

However, most of us given the choice of having the odds of success stacked in our favor will undoubtedly at least consider benefiting from those odds. Does that mean this stacker strategy is superior to the traditional roll-up strategies that have been standard on most hybrid style annuities for the last six or seven years? Well, yes and no. What you have available with a stacking income rider is typically better income potential but you give up some of your contractual guarantees in the trade-off. The income rider with a stacker works by providing a smaller roll-up growth guarantee – typically three to four percent (instead of six to eight percent) and then stacking on the index growth for that period. Based upon historical illustrations the growth potential typically exceeds that of the traditional guaranteed riders. However, they are based on probability and potential instead of absolute guarantees. [continued below video...]

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Video: Annuity Guys, Dick & Eric, explain some newer income rider strategies.

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The ongoing low rate environment has squeezed insurance companies and limited their ability to provide greater income benefits without incurring crippling long-term liabilities in today’s depressed rate environment. To combat this, they created a stacker strategy which partially relieves the insurance company of the need to reserve as much money for an income rider liability by creating an opportunity to give that benefit only when the client has growth from the index – so they can pay as they go, sharing the profits with you.

Should everyone start to elect the stacker strategy on their annuity income riders? Not necessarily! The strength of annuities are their contractual guarantees and if you like the idea of being able to own a “set-it and forget-it” style of annuity – knowing that it will roll-up to increase your future income on a guaranteed level each year, then you will probably want to stick with a more traditional style income rider.

Are these just the two primary income rider strategies to choose from? No, again.

Another option is what we have termed “enhanced” income riders which offer minimal or no growth income guarantees. However, you may be surprised to learn that these enhanced income riders have the potential to provide even greater income than the stacked income rider. While again not the ideal option for those requiring absolute guarantees, they provide excellent potential for higher income based upon historical performance and some even offer an opportunity for increasing income for an inflation hedge.

As you evaluate your retirement, don’t feel as if you can only choose one of these strategies – often times the best results come from balancing multiple income strategies.



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Beware of Best Annuity Claims Sat, 23 Aug 2014 06:00:58 +0000  When you begin research on annuities via the internet it does not take long before you realize that everyone claims to have the best annuity choice for you. First, they must get your information to make certain that they recommend the very best annuity or advanced annuity strategy. Sound familiar? Maybe they have an 8 percent secret, a 50% bonus, or proprietary financial vehicles and strategies that leave the other 99 percent of advisors in the dust! Are you sensing that these claims sound a little more like sales tactics than true retirement planning? [continued below video...]

Video: Annuity Guys, Dick and Eric, share pointers on avoiding dubious best annuity claims.

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Here’s the real issue or conflict of interest when it is all said and done. The vast majority of advisors are focused on one or two annuities that they want you to choose from. This is why so many folks become confused and frustrated since they tend to shop for annuities in similar ways to buying a car or an appliance by trying to compare annuities from one advisor to the next. This may work well for cars and appliances since their price fluctuates with different retailers and it is easier to compare exact models.

Unfortunately, NOT with annuities. What you find are competing advisors or salespeople offering different annuities that they claim are BEST! The dilemma: how can every advisor offer a different annuity and claim that theirs is best? More than likely it’s because they want to sell you what they are most comfortable with and motivated to sell. So, when individuals are confronted with confusing information and persuasive opposing claims from so-called experts, what do you think normally happens? From our field experience usually one of two things typically happen; either no action like a deer caught in headlights or the best salesman wins the business! Neither are very acceptable; no action may create a worst case financial scenario and choosing based on sales persuasion will rarely result in the best retirement outcome. 

So what is the common denominator to avoid? We believe it is avoiding the hype of one best annuity, solution or strategy which 90 percent of the time results in the pet annuity that the advisor prefers to sell – since it is so much easier to focus on one or two annuities by knowing them well and being highly incentivized for their sales volume.

The bigger question is why more advisors don’t take the higher client-centered road? We would conclude that it is because the time and effort involved in taking a more analytical and outcome based approach is much greater. Hence, We are strong proponents of individuals working with experienced advisors who strongly believe that clients should be given multiple success strategies involving annuities so the client can make their own best choice without feeling the retail like sales pressure of such an important decision. We just simply call this our Outcome Based Planning approach which models multiple success scenarios for the client to make rational objective decisions based on their timetable and objectives.


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Is Your Advisor One Annuity Away From a Free Trip to Paris Sat, 16 Aug 2014 06:00:03 +0000 The best annuity… is it the one that is best for you to own or the best annuity for the agents benefit? Unfortunately, the client’s needs and an advisor’s product selection are not always in alignment for the client’s best interest. [continued below video...]

Video: Annuity Guys, Dick and Eric, examine some inherent conflicts of interest in the insurance industry today.

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Our industry is well-known for its incentives that give advisors trips or bonuses based upon annuity production. Are incentives bad? Not if they are a reward for a job well done; however, if it causes an advisor to offer a financial vehicle that may not be the best option for the client then the incentive has created an unfair conflict of interest.

Back in the good old days of the insurance industry, most companies hired or contracted agents to sell only their products. As the industry evolved agents sought independence from the companies and wanted the opportunity to offer the best products for their clients regardless of the carrier. So, many insurance companies evolved and contracted with independent agents; bringing us to the present day where many insurance companies now work with a select number of field marketing organizations (FMOs) to contract, train, and support their agents.

Most FMOs have agreements in place with several insurance companies. In turn, the FMO encourages their agents to write all of their business with one FMO to receive the best incentives. So how does this affect the average annuity buyer?  When an agent or advisor only works with one FMO this eliminates a number of annuity choices that could be much better for their clients. So are these agents really independent or are they just like the captive agents of days gone by offering that one so-called best solution that just happens to be the best one they have access to or maybe the one that earns them a free vacation?

Truly independent advisors should work with several FMO’s and present their clients with multiple scenarios for success. Incentives will not detour quality advisors from offering what is truly in their clients best interests.

Insurance Industry Breakdown



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How Do Hybrid Fixed Index Annuities Pay a Higher Yield? Sat, 09 Aug 2014 06:00:40 +0000 Okay, what’s the catch? How is it possible that a hybrid fixed index annuity can eliminate market risk and earn higher interest than standard fixed annuities. Unfortunately, at times there is a catch – when the agent is overselling or overstating the merits of this type of annuity. Oftentimes, the upside is compared with uncapped stock market like returns without market risk and an income floor of 7 to 8 percent. If this were fully true, these annuities would quickly become the number one financial instrument for everyone – young or old! [continued below video...]

Video: Dick and Eric discuss how fixed index annuities pay a higher yield without market risk.

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So, let’s dissect the hype and dial it back a little. First; you never get the full upside of the market index your annuity is correlated with. There are always one or more limiting factors to the interest earned. It is also important to remember that you are never directly invested in the market index your annuity is correlated with. As for that 7 to 8 percent floor (rider roll up percentage to be more accurate), you are probably paying a 1 percent annual fee. This floor/rollup percentage is never real growth on money you can walk away with; rather, it is a formula that guarantees a future income. So, what is the no-gimmick way to correctly state the benefits of a Hybrid Fixed Index Annuity (FIA)? Lets try this… The FIA earns interest based on some of the upside potential of the market index it is correlated with and it has contractual income guarantees that use a compounding 4 to 8 percent roll-up formula to guarantee a certain level of future income. Now, the FIA sounds good but not too dubious and many folks will still want to see if it is the right fit for them, even when it is described more accurately.

How do insurance companies actually payout more with FIAs? It is really pretty simple. The money the insurance company would have paid to you (say the 3 percent based on a standard fixed annuity contract) is diverted to purchasing call options on the index you are correlated with. If the options do well, they are exercised (a win-win for both the insurance company and you); and if they do poorly, the options simply expire  -no harm, no foul, and your principal is always intact with some minimum guarantees secured typically by longer term treasuries and high investment grade bonds. So, why has this worked so well for both FIA owners and insurance companies? It has a lot to do with the insurance companies being ultra conservative, managing risk well, and being able to afford some of the top financial annalists in managing this process.


To assist with understanding how interest crediting works we’ve created this info-graphic.

Index Crediting



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Are Annuities a Tax Trap? Sat, 02 Aug 2014 06:00:40 +0000 Never buy an annuity – it is a tax trap or so the negative articles say! When I hear the words never, always, and every my radar for unfair bias goes way up. The annuity industry accounts for trillions of retirement dollars.  One would have to seriously doubt that all of this money comes from brainwashed zombie annuity owners that are mindlessly duped into paying more than their fair share of tax. On the contrary, we see the vast majority of annuity buyers doing considerable research before choosing annuities for their portfolio. Based on our field observations, a large number of annuity buyers are sophisticated and savvy, weighing many factors into their final decisions including tax pros and cons.[continued below video...]

Video; Dick and Eric discuss the pros and cons of tax on annuities and have some fun answering the tax trap question.

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As with any financial instrument, utilizing an annuity in a way that is suitable to your objectives is the fine line between success and failure or tax trap and tax hedge. Annuities have dozens of tax nuances – some positive and some negative. This is the job of an expert annuity specialist to alert you to the benefits or pitfalls when positioning some of your assets in annuities. Ultimately, a tax expert such as a CPA should be the final word when it comes to recommended tax strategies especially when they are more advanced and push the limits of what may be acceptable. Remember, the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is about ten years!☺(kidding aside). The goal for most folks is to legally avoid as much tax as possible and annuities used correctly can do just that.

Here is a list of Tax Pros and Cons to consider…

Annuity Tax Pros:

  • Tax Deferral;
  • Deferred Earnings are exempted from Social Security Tax thresholds;
  • IRA (qualified money) Rollover compatibility;
  • Stretch IRA compatibility;
  • Non-Qualified Stretch compatibility;
  • Roth Stretch IRA compatibility;
  • Tax Free Income or Wealth Transfer Roth compatibility;
  • Annuitization Exclusion ratios.

Annuity Tax Cons:

  • No Step-up in basis at distribution;
  • No capital gains treatment at distribution ;
  • Taxed at Ordinary Income Tax Rates at distribution;
  • Subject to 10% penalties on earnings at distribution before age 59.5.

Check out this related article from Kiplingers.

How Annuities Are Taxed

The rules vary based on the type of annuity and how you take the money.

By Kimberly Lankford

The tax rules vary based on the type of annuity and how you take the money.

You can buy an annuity with funds in your IRA, and if you use pretax money from an IRA or a 401(k) to purchase the annuity, then all payouts will be fully taxed. If you use after-tax dollars to buy the annuity, however, then a portion of the payouts will be a tax-free return of your principal. Either way, you’ll have to pay any taxes that you owe on the annuity at your ordinary income-tax rate, not the preferable capital-gains rate.

There are two types of annuities: immediate and deferred. With an immediate annuity, you hand over the principal to an insurance company and in return receive income for life. If you buy the annuity with after-tax money, then a portion of every payout represents a return of your original investment, and a portion is considered to be taxable earnings.

The money you invested in the immediate annuity is returned in equal tax-free installments over the payment period. If you have a life annuity with payouts that will stop when you die, for example, then that payment period is the IRS’s life-expectancy number for someone your age. You’ll owe taxes only on any portion of each payout beyond the tax-free return of principal.

Say, for example, you invest $100,000 in an immediate annuity and the annual payouts are $8,000. If the IRS considers your life expectancy to be 20 years, divide $100,000 by 20 to determine how much of each payout will be a tax-free return of investment. In this case, $5,000 of each $8,000 payout would be tax-free and $3,000 would be taxed at ordinary income-tax rates.

If you have a deferred annuity, on the other hand, you may not receive any payouts for years. You usually invest money while you’re working, and it grows tax-deferred in the account until you need it in retirement. If you have a variable deferred annuity with several mutual funds to choose from, you can shift the money from one fund to another without having to pay taxes — as long as you don’t withdraw the money.[Read More...]


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Index Modified Endowment Contract vs Hybrid Index Annuity Sat, 26 Jul 2014 06:00:19 +0000 Recently, we attended a training where one of our colleagues waxed poetically about what he called “the best financial product”.  He lauded about how his clients loved him for solving many of their core desires – safety, growth, and liquidity with tax advantages; not to mention benefits for long-term and chronic care with this little known–under used financial instrument. [continued below video...]

Annuity Guys, Dick and Eric, reveal why some call an IMEC “the best financial product ever”!

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We were slightly surprised when he mentioned it was an Index Modified Endowment Contract – only because it seems that very few advisors understand IMEC’s and how to utilize them properly. Like our colleague we have also utilized index modified endowment contracts often to help our clients balance their retirement portfolios for safety without sacrificing meaningful growth potential. It is important to know that all IMECs are not created equal; just like annuities, there are many different IMECs and companies that make them available.

Are these really “the best financial product”? Let’s look at some of the Pros and Cons of IMECs in general.


  1. Annual Locked In Cash Account Value;
  2. Lump Sum allocation typically $50,000 up to $1,000,000;
  3. No 1099s or IRS Tax Reporting Required (withdrawals may be taxable);
  4. High earning potential (Cap Rates up to 17%);
  5. Many Popular Market Indices (DOW, S&P500, NASDAQ, Russell, etc.);
  6. Many Popular Index strategies(annual pt-pt., spread, monthly sum, etc.);
  7. Limited Market Upside with No Market Risk;
  8. Minimum Guarantees up to 3% (can offset fees and costs);
  9. Average Interest potential based on back testing up to 8%+;
  10. Third Party Rated for Safety (A+ or Better Available);
  11. Tax Deferred Growth;
  12. Tax Free Wealth Transfer Death Benefit for Heirs;
  13. Heirs are Guaranteed Tax Free up to four-times the initial contribution/premium or more;
  14. Advanced IMEC strategies can transfer tax-qualified wealth Tax-Free to heirs;
  15. Tax Free Long Term Care Options Available;
  16. Tax Free Home Health Care Options Available;
  17. Tax Free Chronic Care Options Available;
  18. Cash Access High Liquidity;
  19. Potential for No Surrender Charges;
  20. Built on a Life Insurance Chassis;
  21. Can be Designed with the lowest insurance costs allowed to meet IRS Guidelines;
  22. Lower commissions paid to agents as a result of intentionally low built-in insurance costs;
  23. Many similarities to Roth IRAs without IRS limits on contributions.
  24. Allowed by Internal Revenue Code 72(e) and 7702.


  1. You must qualify medically; (can be easier than qualifying for long term care insurance);
  2. Four to six week approval period is typical;
  3. Designed for lump sums initial optimization is needed cannot be easily added to;
  4. Minimum lump sum is typically about $50,000 to optimize potential;
  5. Will not accept most qualified money such as IRAs;
  6. Income is available but not guaranteed for life, like annuities;
  7. Fees can typically run from 1.5% up-to 3% (these can be offset by minimum guarantees);
  8. IRS imposes 10% penalties on cash distributions before age 59.5;
  9. Not FDIC Insured;
  10. Requires an experienced specialist to structure correctly.


MEC Detailed Instructional Video – View Now
Mec Pros & Cons Instructional Video



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Are Annuity Fees and Annuity Penalties too High? Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:00:28 +0000 I would wager that everyone has used the phrase “You get what you pay for” in describing some less than desirable outcome after not buying the more expensive option. However, can the same axiom be used when considering annuities?

Of course the answer is YES… and NO.

Surrender penalties in annuities are universal and much maligned. No one wants to pay a penalty! If you have properly allocated and designed your portfolio, you never will need to worry about paying surrender penalties. Annuities are primarily designed to be long term retirement products. Owning an annuity for income or safety with modest growth in retirement should be considered a long term commitment – after all, most retirees will be in retirement and need income for 20 to 30 years or more. So, holding an annuity with a 10 year surrender should be a minor consideration when choosing the correct option for retirement security and lifetime income.[continued below video...]

Dick and Eric discuss whether annuity fees are too high.


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Annuity companies tend to give greater benefits for longer commitments. Typically, the longer the commitment, the higher the caps; and participation rates for growth and the benefits tend to be richer than the shorter surrender term products. It is almost a universal truth that all insurance companies will give a greater benefit to an annuity with a longer surrender period than to one with a shorter surrender. However, company A’s shorter term annuity may be superior to company B’s longer term annuity offering. Hence, it is important to compare.

The vast majority of annuities have a no fee version; however, the no fee version may not offer the same level of guaranteed benefits such as additional riders which provide for lifetime income without annuitization or provide long term care income, if needed. When you decide to accept a fee, it is to obtain a corresponding benefit. Not every company will value their benefits at the same level. So, the range of fees across similar annuities can vary substantially.

Many times, the fees charged for riders will be the same for all annuities offered by a single company. For example, company A charges .60% for their income rider on their Super Annuity 7-year product and they charge the same .60% for their Super Annuity with a 10-year surrender schedule.

As you consider annuities, should you be fee aware? YES. Ultimately, you may decide that it is worth paying a somewhat higher fee in exchange for a needed benefit – such as a greater income or better growth potential or to have a long term care supplement.


Here is a related article that may be of interest to you.

Annuity Fees and Commissions – The Inside Story

Let me just give it to you straight – annuities pay commissions and some of them have fees. Now that we have that ugly fact out of the way, let’s figure out if it makes annuities a bad choice!

When it comes to a properly designed retirement plan, does it matter what you pay if you’ve hit all your financial targets and fulfilled all your income needs? Of course it matters – nobody wants to overpay, but most people do not have trouble paying [Read More...]


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8% to 15% Returns – Hybrid Annuity Scams or Half Truths? Sat, 12 Jul 2014 06:00:29 +0000 Eight Percent Annual Annuity Returns… or even better!  Before You Lock In Rates… Discover Up To 15% Income For Life.

Where did I find these amazing offers? Believe it or not, right in the Ad section at the top and on the right side of the page when I searched Google for the word “annuity”. Surely these offers must really exist or they wouldn’t put them on Google. In fact, I’m sure these offers do exist — unfortunately just not for the majority of people this advertising targets. These offers are the classic bait and switch or maybe I would call them bait with a twist. How so? Let me translate it from marketing speak into English – “eight percent annual return” translates into a captive income formula (not an actual return on your money!) that never allows you to walk away with that so called eight percent return. Want the 15%? You’ll have to wait to start your income at about age 90 to get that one. [continued below video...]

Watch as Dick and Eric have fun revealing the truth behind the half-truths!

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So these offers really do exist, but most of the time they are advertisers/advisors that hope you will click the ad and forget the bait – they just hope you will click to give your information and then hope you forget the offer that brought you in so they can wow you with even more annuity half-speak.

Just to be clear, we love annuities for what they do. We don’t believe they have to be sold by tricks or any type of deception. All financial products have pros and cons, including annuities. However, before you choose whom to work with when in comes to annuities I’d ask you to think about what brought you to them – facts and education or smoke and mirrors? Do you really want an advisor who specializes in smoke and mirrors to handle your retirement?

Some articles we previously penned related to this weeks topic.

Is the 8 Percent Annuity Secret To Good to be True?

November 9, 2013 By by Dick N Eric; Annuity Guys

Annuity Salesman asks:  “How would you like an eight percent compounded return, Guaranteed!?”

Mislead customer replies, “Where do I sign-up?”

Is the statement an outright lie? No, but it is one of the reasons so many people are confused about how annuities really work. [Read More...]


How to Identify Unethical Annuity Advisors

April 6, 2013 By by Dick N Eric; Annuity Guys

Being a financial advisor is an honorable profession that is dishonored when its practitioners employ abusive sales practices.

Oftentimes, the root causes of abusive or unethical practices are lack of character and integrity which can manifest its worst case scenario as a criminal intent on the part of the advisor. This type of self-serving behavior can obviously be harmful to any investor, doing irreparable damage. [Read More...]

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Why are Markets and Annuity Sales at All Time Highs? Sat, 28 Jun 2014 06:00:17 +0000 Equity markets increasing and annuity sales increasing at the same time is a little like cats and dogs playing together. It does happen, but an inverse relationship has been the norm.

Author Dan Kadlec (cited below) stated in his article that “Lifetime income has emerged as perhaps the biggest retirement challenge of our age. The gradual shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans over the past 30 years has begun to leave each new class of retirees without the predictable, monthly stream of cash needed to cover basic expenses.

It is a fact that more and more employers are moving to a 401k style retirement plan and away from the defined benefit plans enjoyed by past generations. Some of the biggest national employers are doing everything they can to unload their pension obligations by offering lump sum buyouts or turning the pension program over to insurance companies.[continued below video...]

Watch the Annuity Guys, Dick and Eric, postulate about these and other possible explanations as to why annuities are now so popular – when past trends would indicate the opposite.

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So we can postulate that the reason for increased annuity sales now and perhaps in the foreseeable future have more to do with the financial needs of today’s retirees as compared to past generations; and some of the increased sales may also be the lack of safe money options from other sources such as low bank interest rates that have left income needy retirees without many other alternatives for safe income or moderate growth options.


Need Retirement Income? Here’s the Hottest Thing Out There

by  Dan Kadlec

Sales of fixed annuities are surging as income-strapped retirees seek ways to rescue their retirement plans.

Annuity sales are exploding higher as retirees look to lock up guaranteed lifetime income in an environment where fewer folks leaving the workplace have a traditional pension. In a sign of wise planning, easy-to-understand basic income annuities are among the fastest growing of these insurance products.

In all, net annuity sales reached $56.1 billion in the first quarter—up 13% from a year earlier, based on data reported by Beacon Research and Morningstar. Variable annuities, often seen more as a tax-smart investing supplement for the wealthy than a vehicle for lifetime income, account for most of the market. These annuities, which essentially let you invest in mutual funds with some insurance guarantees, saw first-quarter net sales of $33.5 billion—down slightly from a year ago.

Meanwhile, net sales of fixed annuities, which offer more certain returns, surged to levels last seen in the rush to safety at the height of the Great Recession—totaling $22.6 billion for the quarter. Fixed annuities come in simple and complex varieties—those indexed to the stock market can be confusing and laden with fees. But the subset known as income annuities—the most basic and straightforward of the lot—grew at a 50% clip versus 44% for the index variety.

Basic income annuities, also known as immediate annuities, remain a tiny portion of the overall $2.6 trillion annuity market. Yet they are what most investors think of when they ponder buying an income stream. With an immediate annuity you plunk down cash and begin receiving pre-set guaranteed income over a period of, say, 10 or 20 years, or life. Rates have been relatively low, as they are for most fixed-income investments. Recently a 65-year-old man investing $100,000 could get a lifetime payout of 6.6%, according to [Read more...]

Retirement & Annuity Calculators – Can You Afford to Retire?


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