The idea of dependable, ongoing lifetime payments in retirement is appealing to many people. For over two thousand years, annuities have been a time-tested source of guaranteed income across continents, cultures, and walks of life.
Even now, the need for guaranteed lifetime income is still strong in the face of ever-changing markets, meager interest rates, and other economic factors often beyond anyone’s control.
Of course, there are some ways to get guaranteed retirement income beyond annuities. You have a number of vehicles at your disposal:
- Bond ladders,
- Treasury securities,
- Defined-pension payouts,
- Reverse mortgages, and
- Other certain fixed-interest investments
The Guaranteed Income Question
The million-dollar question is whether these guaranteed instruments can offer you the same level of confidence as annuities can.
Yes, decisions on what to include inside your income strategy always depend on your personal situation. But annuities themselves can pay you a guaranteed income for life in ways that others can’t.
When using an annuity for retirement income security, there are many questions that need to be considered. Annuities can pay you a guaranteed income for life, but they aren’t for everyone. They need to have a defined purpose in your retirement plan that solves a specific problem.
The annuity owner can determine when the annuity begins to pay out, and how the payouts occur. The payouts can occur for a fixed period of time, or they can be set up to pay out for the remainder of the contract holder’s life.
Done? Not yet. The financial professional offering you the annuity might suggest a series of additional benefits, called “riders,” which can be attached to your annuity. A rider can offer add-on benefits to your base contract. It can make the decision-making process even more involved.
Here are some of the types of riders you might find on a fixed index annuity. We will also answer some of the questions that can arise when you explore these riders.
You might have heard of a backdoor Roth conversion before, but what exactly is it? In short, a backdoor Roth IRA is a way for those with high incomes to take advantage of a Roth account despite IRS contribution limits.
To start with, you have to have an IRA to convert to a Roth. So, if you don’t meet the qualifications for opening a Roth IRA below, you can only open a traditional IRA.
The Rule of 120 is a long-standing rule of thumb for financial asset diversification. Retirement planning is complicated, and some people find this rule useful as a starting point to evaluate the amount of risk that they have in their financial plan.
According to the Rule of 120, you subtract your current age from 120, then put the difference in stocks and other equities. The rest goes into ‘safe’ financial products, known as fixed-income assets such as fixed-type annuities, bonds, Treasury securities, and CDs.
In other words, if you are 20 years old, 100 percent of your money should be in stocks. On the other hand, if 70 is your age, then you would be at 50 percent in ‘risky’ assets, such as equities.
To be clear, the Rule of 120 is helpful when you are just beginning things. But it’s not the best rule of thumb for everyone and in every situation. Let’s go more over how this rule can be used – and what some limits may be.
There are many kinds of financial professionals that are available today. With no shortage to choose from, why would you want to limit your search only to retirement income planners – or those who plan for retirement income?
The simple answer is life changes, and financial wellness at this point requires a certain specialty. You wouldn’t go to a family medicine doctor for matters relating to brain surgery. That is what a neurosurgeon is for.
The same goes for income planning near and in retirement. An experienced retirement income planner will be able to help you maximize the fruits of your life’s work net of taxes, inflation, fees, and other factors. They should be able to create dependable income streams that have a good chance of holding up for however long your retirement lasts.
We all have spent most of our working lives hearing advice to save and plan for retirement. But retirement isn’t just about gathering assets for later years. It’s also about protecting them from loss.
Here are some practical wealth protection tips and strategies that you can implement to preserve your hard-earned assets.
What Is Wealth Protection?
Wealth protection in the financial industry refers to wealth management strategies and tools to help individuals, families, and businesses protect their assets. Everyone needs to put protective measures in place to deal with unexpected events, which will undoubtedly occur.
You will face various potential threats to your financial well-being throughout your life. These risks involve potential harm to your retirement plans and your estate plan. You will also want to manage your liability risk, whether professional in your career or at home in your family.
If you want to maximize your retirement income, then it’s good to know how mortality credits can affect how much lifetime income you receive from an annuity. Insurance companies use mortality credits in their calculations of income payments to their annuity contract holders.
Leveraging mortality credits could make a big deal in just how much income you receive throughout retirement. Moreover, this income stream can let you keep up your current lifestyle in retirement with a predictable, ongoing flow of money to spend each month.
Here’s a look at how mortality credits drive annuity payments – and how these can play to your advantage for a financially comfortable retirement.
Interest rates affect annuities in sometimes strikingly different ways. The interest rate that most annuity companies follow is the 10-year Treasury rate. When it rises, most types of annuities are better off (but not all of them). When it falls, it often hurts many annuities.
Again, interest rates don’t affect all annuities the same way. So, let’s start by looking at annuity types and then how interest rates impact them. That will help you decide what annuity might be best for your needs.
Taxes are a top retirement concern, and as annuities are the only financial vehicle that can pay a guaranteed lifetime income, you might wonder about annuities and taxes. To understand how annuities are taxed, you should first understand the different types of annuities and how they can be used.
Basic Annuity Types
There are a few basic types of annuities in the market today. It’s good to note that all annuities are capable of paying a guaranteed lifetime income. But some annuity kinds are better equipped to pay you lifetime income while others are stronger for growth.
That being said, these basic types of annuities are:
Fixed Annuity – A fixed annuity typically provides a guaranteed rate of growth for a specified period. The longer the term is for your fixed annuity, the higher that interest rate tends to be. So, it’s vital to select the company from which you buy an annuity carefully.
Fixed Indexed Annuity – A fixed indexed annuity offers growth potential that is tied to an underlying financial benchmark index. The annuity allows the contract holder to have their money earn interest, based on what the index does, without downside exposure.
Variable Annuity – A variable annuity allows someone to place money in various mutual fund-like accounts for investment purposes. Legally, it’s both an insurance policy and a security. However, a variable annuity does expose the annuity assets to the full risk of loss in the market.
With growing government debt and the prospect of increasing taxes, you may wonder if a Roth conversion is right for you. But there are many nuances to deciding on a Roth conversion and then following through on the conversion process.
You will pay taxes on the converted amount. In some cases, a Roth conversion can move you into a higher tax bracket, depending on your other taxable income. If you will need the money in five years or less, this tax planning strategy might not be a good fit for your situation.
Understanding your options can help in making a confident decision. That being said, here are a few quick factors to keep in mind as you explore whether a Roth conversion might make sense for your financial situation. You will also want to speak with your tax advisor and any other experienced professionals as needed for further guidance on your personal situation.