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Retirement Planning Blog

in Annuity
on 28 November, 2017

 annuity payout options

Many retirement investors use annuities for guaranteed income. But some find their annuity payout options to be confusing. There are a variety of methods to receive annuity income payments. With so many choices, it can be hard to decide what’s right for you.

People tend to feel more confident in their decisions when they are well-informed. So, this article will take a look at some common annuity payout options and how they are defined.

Before going into basic details, it’s important to recognize that your payout choices will differ among insurance companies. Some carriers may not provide the same annuity payout options you have with another carrier. Or the specific conditions and details of the payout options might vary. Keep this in mind as you choose how you want your future income payments to be calculated.

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on 31 October, 2017

  5 pre retirement blunders investors make

It sure can feel good to be in the homestretch toward retirement. But retired life is a different ballgame than the years we spent working and accumulating wealth. People are living longer, and this increases the risk of outliving our money – not to mention other challenges that can put our goals at jeopardy.   

While there’s no such thing as a fail-safe strategy, it definitely helps to have a retirement financial plan for ever-evolving economic conditions. Knowing what to do to plan is certainly part of that. But it’s just as important to understand what not to do. Otherwise inferior decisions could negatively affect your retirement lifestyle for many years to come.

Here are five potential missteps you should strive to avoid as you look ahead to retirement.

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on 20 November, 2017

4 steps to financial house order holidays

The holidays are approaching, and everyone is stepping into high gear. From Thanksgiving dinners and seasonal gift shopping to family get-togethers, these are busy but joy-filled times. Aside from the festivity, fellowship, and merriment, though, it can also be financially stressful for many households.

The holiday season brings more pressure to spend, and this can put strain on retirees, many of whom live on a fixed income. For lots of Americans, there’s also the issue of personal debt. Having the pressure of growing debt loads, many people feel the impact of debt on their retirement goals, not to mention other objectives. And excessive holiday spending can be partly to blame. A survey by NerdWallet found that 24% of shoppers overspent last year, while 27% made no budget at all.

The good news is with the right steps, financial wellness is within reach. If you are in your 50s or 60s, it’s prudent to start taking steps to set goals, plan for the future, avoid financial missteps, and make changes so your money works for you.

Here are some steps to get your financial house in order for the year-end and for greater financial confidence in the future.

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on 26 October, 2017

 social security benefits to increase 2018

Good news! Next year, Social Security beneficiaries will get their biggest raise since 2012. The Social Security Administration reports that monthly benefits will receive a 2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) in 2018.

For the average retiree, the increase amounts to around $27 extra a month. For the year, it adds up to an extra $324 in benefit payments. Social Security beneficiaries will see increased payments in January 2018, while increased payments for SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017.

While this is welcome news, another development may offset the increased benefits for retirees. Many retirees actually may see little or no increase in payments. Most beneficiaries have Medicare Part B premiums taken from their Social Security. For those who have benefited from the “hold harmless” provision of Medicare law in recent years, Medicare may eat into some or all of the raise.

Let’s get more into the details of this now.

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in Annuity
on 21 November, 2017

 myga annuity blog img 

Considering its interest rate potential, a multi-year guarantee annuity, or MYGA annuity, may seem pretty "boring." This can happen especially when you compare it to a fixed index annuity and its growth potential.

But while many people see indexed annuities as appealing, not everyone does. Some retirement investors just want an unchanging, fixed growth rate for their money. The prospect of changing interest rates, from time to time, doesn’t appeal to them.

If you desire straightforward choices like this, a MYGA annuity might be of interest. Unlike with a fixed index annuity, a MYGA annuity gives you a fixed interest rate over time. In many cases, this interest rate doesn’t change in later contract years, like you often get in a traditional fixed annuity.

As you think over different types of annuities, it’s important to understand your options. Here’s a quick guide to understanding MYGA annuities, their benefits, and potential drawbacks in retirement planning.

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in Annuity
on 25 October, 2017

 should i buy an annuity for retirement

For people in their fifties, it’s never too early to think about a retirement financial plan. Even if you are starting a bit late in the game, now is an excellent time to catch up on planning.

However, so many investment, fixed-income, and insurance products are on the market. Like other investors, you may find it challenging to create strategies that meet your needs for safety and income.

Of the many options, annuities may be on your radar, but you may have heard bad things about them too. How can you judge if they are right for your financial situation?

To get started, learn about some scenarios where annuities can help people achieve their retirement money goals. Here are some things to consider when you are thinking of buying an annuity.

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in Annuity
on 15 November, 2017

what are the average interest rates for an annuity

The interest rates that an annuity earns largely hinge on two things: the type of annuity you have, and how the annuity is credited interest. Some annuities declare the interest rate ahead of time.

Other annuities earn interest based on ups or downs in an index, like the S&P 500 price index. Most annuities come with compounding interest. However, you may come across some contracts that offer simple interest growth.

If you are researching the potential for typical annuity interest rates, it’s important to know how annuities can differ by growth potential. Here's some crucial information to consider as you think through your potential options.

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on 24 October, 2017

what are life insurance riders updated

Life insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You have many options to cover your needs, including the ability to purchase additional benefits on a basic life policy. These additional policy benefits are called life insurance riders.  

Some riders are automatically included in a policy at no extra cost. Other riders will require additional premium cost. Life insurance rider benefits are available for many needs, from terminal illness and long-term care costs to term insurance coverage of children or of a spouse. With that said, you must meet the conditions outlined in the rider to enjoy its particular benefit.

In some policies, you may blend different riders together, at additional cost. The riders you choose, whether included in the policy or purchased at additional cost, may be used for current or future insurance needs.

Since many life insurance riders mean additional premium to be paid, it’s prudent to be sure you don’t get too much insurance. Knowing the basics of different riders and what they offer is a good starting point. Let’s go more into that now.

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in Annuity
on 09 November, 2017

what is an annuity exclusion ratio

When it comes to annuities, people can have many questions. "What is the annuity exclusion ratio?" is a common one, especially for those considering immediate annuities. Many investors also ask about how the exclusion ratio may affect their tax burden in their retirement. 

The exclusion ratio is an important number. It helps calculate the amount in each of your income benefit payments that won’t be taxable. Several investors like to know its basic ins-and-outs so they can get an idea of what their taxes will be.  

What many people don’t know is that the annuity exclusion ratio may, in fact, reduce their overall tax liability. Since taxes can take a big bite out of retirement income, it certainly can pay off to understand this number and how it might impact you.

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on 18 October, 2017

 americans discouraged retirement outlook image

After many working years, most people would probably see retirement as a positive thing. Yet while it’s true for many Americans, a recent survey by Nationwide shows greater-than-expected retirement dissatisfaction. Nearly 3 in 10 recent retirees (28%) said that their lives are in worse in retirement than before. Moreover, just 2 in 10 future retirees expect that life will be better in retirement.

What was the reason for the retirement humbug? Financial issues, mostly. Among the 28% of unhappy retirees, 78% pointed to income as a reason while 76% blamed the cost of living.

The Nationwide Retirement Institute also noted other findings that are instructive for income and retirement planning. Let’s dive into some more of those takeaways now.

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