Annuity Guys® Annuity Rates, Features & Ratings: America's trusted annuity resource. Compare best options for hybrid, index, fixed, variable & immediate annuity quotes. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:30:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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The Fallacy of Unbiased Financial Advisors Sat, 21 Jun 2014 06:00:04 +0000 Let me start with one basic truth – we are Annuity Guys; we think annuities can be a part of a balanced portfolio. We have a bias in that we believe annuities are sound financial products that will provide safe secure growth in addition to lifetime income throughout retirement.

Likewise, you would be hard pressed to find any financial advisor who is unbiased. There are advisors that take a more balanced view toward securities and annuities and the roles they can play to balance a portfolio yet all of them will have a bias based on education, training, experience and even at times self-serving motives. [continued below video...]

Annuity Guys, Dick and Eric review the way advisors define themselves so you can have more insight into how their recommendations are based on their bias.

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What we want to impress upon you is that bias is not necessarily bad; however by knowing the type of advisor you are working with you can more readily pin point their potential bias as acceptable or unacceptable. Within the industry we have three primary types of advisors – commissioned agents/brokers, fee-only advisors, and fee-based advisors. Each type of advisor has good and unfortunately some bad advisors. Ultimately, you should choose an advisor based upon their ability to assist you in accomplishing your financial goals and do so in the most economical and efficient way possible, which does not always translate to the cheapest. There are times when paying a fee for genuine financial planning can open the door to more possibilities than just the free advice that is offered by competing sales people who claim their solution is best.
Here is an excellent article by Ken Little that examines some of the pros and cons of each advisor type.

 What Type of Financial Adviser do You Need?

By Ken Little at

Do you need the services of a professional financial adviser? Many people find that having a professional look at their total financial picture and bring it in focus is a valuable service.

As I discussed in part one of this two-part series, people often turn to financial advisers when they don’t have the time, energy or talent to manage a complex financial life.

If you think the services of a professional sound like something you could use, the next question becomes which type of adviser do you pick.

Generally, who can classify financial advisers two ways:

  • How they are compensated
  • Professional designations

How they are Compensated

There are three basic ways you compensate financial advisers for their work. Each of the three methods has some good points and some weaknesses. In the end, you should choose the adviser you feel will do the best job for you and worry less about the method of compensation. The compensation methods are:

Fee Only
The fee-only adviser develops a comprehensive plan that lays out how you can reach your financial goals. However, it leaves the actual execution of the plan to you. The adviser doesn’t sell any products or services other than the plan itself.

The strong points of fee-only financial advisers are:

  • Comprehensive plan – Fee-only advisers usually produce the most comprehensive plan since this is their sole product.
  • Objective recommendations – Since the fee-only advisers make no money off sales of any products, their recommendations are not driven by potential commissions.
  • Customer interaction – Fee-only advisers are more likely to spend time educating customers on various aspects of the plan since it will be up to the customer to execute the plan.

The weak points of fee-only financial advisers are:

  • Cost – Fee-only advisers charge more than other types of advisers since they do not take any other form of compensation.
  • Execution – Some customers find they are not much better off with a plan in their hand if they have to perform the execution also.
  • Updating – As things change, the plan needs updating, which may involve additional costs.

Fee and Commission or Percentage of Assets

The second method of compensation of financial advisers includes a fee and commissions. The fee, which is usually substantially less than what a fee-only adviser would charge covers the cost of building the plan and commissions cover the cost of execution.

A variation on this compensation plan involves an annual fee based on a percentage of assets in your accounts. The fee compensates the adviser for monitoring your investments and making recommendations.

The strong points of fee plus commission advisers are:

  • Plan development – The fee plus adviser develops a plan for the customer that lays out suggested strategies for reaching the customer’s goals.
  • Execution – Because the fee plus adviser receives compensation from executing the plan, the adviser is there to execute the plan.
  • Multiple products – The fee plus adviser often sells or has access to multiple products such as insurance in addition to investments, so much of they can do much of execution.

The weak points of fee plus commission adviser are:

  • Objectivity – There is always the question of how objective the advice will be when it results in a commission for the financial adviser.
  • House products – Fee plus advisers may push house products (certain mutual funds or life insurance products, for example), which may not be the best choice for your particular situation.
  • High-price products – There is a danger the fee-plus adviser will pick products for your plan that pay higher commissions over other equally good, but lower commissioned products.

Commission Only

The third method of compensation is commission only. The financial adviser receives their only compensation from products they sell you.

I think you can see the inherent problem with this arrangement – it is in the adviser best interest to sell you something. A person who works on a commission only basis is a salesperson. [Read More...]

Retirement & Annuity Calculators – Can You Afford to Retire?


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Are Annuities the Best Answer for the Impending Correction? Sat, 14 Jun 2014 06:00:36 +0000 Sir Isaac Newton said it best, “What goes up must come down.”

As financial advisors, we work with clients to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. By preparing for the worst, we help clients utilize guarantees to cover their income and retirement needs. If your foundational income is secure your retirement will be built on a foundation that is destined for success. [continued below video...]



Watch as Dick and Eric have some fun discussing the often predicted - “impending market correction”.

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Why do we spend so much time focused on annuities as the foundation? We know that annuities can be the ideal solution for retirees who have been left to solve the retirement income dilemma without an adequate pension – which is more and more common with the rise of 401k plans and the elimination of many defined benefit plans and old fashioned company pensions. Annuities can provide safety and guarantees for retirees worried about declining interest rates and volatile markets, negatively impacting their savings and investments. Once your foundational income is secure, then it makes more sense using other higher potential market allocations to enhance your income and retirement without living in constant fear of long term market corrections or recessions.

Many of the financial studies tell us that money toys with our emotions and that it causes us to make many poor decisions. We know we are suppose to buy low and sell high, but euphoria and panic cause the reverse to happen. So maybe this is a little contrarian but with the bull market still running all out, you may want to take the time to consider whether it might be the ideal time to take some of your profits and shore up your retirement foundation.

Unsure of a correction? Look at this review from Friday the 13th with a full moon. ☺LOL

 Luck won’t stop a correction

By Jeff Macke
Today is Friday the 13th and last night we had glorious full moon. The confluence of Friday the 13th and a full moon is relatively rare. We won’t see this mix again until 2049. The last time there was a confluence of a full moon and Friday the 13th was October 2000. On that day the Nasdaq rose 7.8%; a vicious snap-back rally in an otherwise dire year for stocks.

I’m not superstitious but I do believe in what Keynes called the “animal spirits” and their ability to control markets. In the long-term prices are rational but the here and now is more complicated. For the better part of the last month stocks have been rallying for reasons largely rooted in sentiment. Too many skeptics bought into the idea of selling in May and going away. Because Mr. Market is cruel the stock market rallied 5%.

Obviously the mood has changed. The scenes coming out of Iraq are chilling. Yesterday the Bank of England’s Mark Carney cautioned that central banks could be raising rates sooner than the market expects. Oil prices are screaming higher.

Based on the always-useful survey of individual investors, this bad news is popping up just as sentiment becomes dangerously one-sided. At 44.7 the percentage of investors calling themselves “Bullish” hasn’t been this high since the day after Christmas of last year. [Read More...]

Retirement & Annuity Calculators – Can You Afford to Retire?


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What do Hybrid Annuities, Mutual Funds and ETFs have in Common? Sat, 07 Jun 2014 06:00:31 +0000 Hybrid annuities, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds (ETFs) could not possibly have many things in common or could they? After all, the dyed in the wool investment guy wants you to think about securities or variable annuities and your safe money retirement planner keeps making a case to move some dollars into fixed or indexed annuities. Wouldn’t it be nice if both sides could just get it right. The answer is simply a blend of both for a balanced portfolio and of course everyone needs a different blend to optimize their own retirement. So, that’s where a well rounded experienced advisor becomes essential. [continued below the video...]

Watch as Dick and Eric look at common and not so common traits of these financial instruments.

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The strongest commonality amongst all these products is the level of complexity in CHOOSING the best hybrid annuity, mutual fund or ETF.  After all there are thousands of each of these financial products available. So how do you choose? The best way typically is by relying on an expert advisor who specializes in each of these areas. Financial advisors are compensated for helping you narrow the selections from hundreds or thousands of options to just a handful and then explaining why those selections are the best for your situation. Financial product selection should never start with the product – it should always start with an individuals financial objective and only then should a mutual fund, ETF, or annuity become the solution to your problem. And more than likely, it will not be just one of those financial instruments but a combination in various allocations that can offer the greatest opportunity of success.

Hybrid annuities are often decried for their complexity, but mutual funds and ETFs can each have a prospectus totaling twice that of the annuity contract. In fact, FINRA and the SEC has described each of these as complex financial products that require a careful understanding before deciding upon any of these options.

Retirement & Annuity Calculators – Can You Afford to Retire?


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