Retirement Planning Blog

How a Secure Guaranteed Retirement Account Can Bring More Financial Peace of Mind


If protection and growth are important for you in retirement, you may want to look at your options for a “secure guaranteed retirement account.” Fueled by retirement annuities, this sort of financial strategy can give you a guaranteed income that lasts for the rest of your life. As the defined-benefit pension has disappeared, we have all been forced to think more about alternatives for guaranteed retirement income.

A secure guaranteed retirement account can be an important part of your overall retirement strategy. It can counterbalance certain kinds of risk in other retirement investments. An annuity’s stream of income can cover periods when you need extra income, such as the period between your retirement and your eligibility for Social Security or Medicare.

The predictable nature of an annuity’s income stream can allow you to take a bit more risk or creativity in your other retirement investments. In other words, a retirement annuity can give you security and flexibility.

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Spotlight Series Interview – Jon Bellman spotlight series interview

The Spotlight Series highlights financial professionals who are part of our tight-knit community of financial professionals across the country. Our community of financial professionals has appeared on major outlets including CNBC, U.S. News Money, Fox Business, CNN, and others reaching 84+ million households nationally.

We celebrate them as independent business owners, friends, neighbors, educators, advocates, and people who are doing good work in their corners of the world. What stands out about financial professionals on from countless others in the industry is their commitment to financial security, wellness, and peace of mind for people from all walks of life.

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Jon Bellman, an experienced financial professional from Texas. Jon has been serving clients in the financial services industry for nearly three decades. He is the president and owner of Bellman Financial Services, an independent firm. As a financial professional, Jon is a strong believer in education and in clients understanding their options for well-informed choices. 

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What Is a Retirement Bridge Account?


A retirement bridge account is your strategy for bridging the gap between retiring and claiming your Social Security benefits. Claiming your benefits too early could lead to missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in lifetime benefits. And, for those retiring earlier than age 62, a retirement bridge account may be a necessity.

Whether you are retiring early or want to hold off on claiming your Social Security until later in life, a bridge account can be your financial lifeline. Here’s a quick overview explaining how you can work a bridge strategy into your retirement plan.

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Guaranteed Retirement Income: How to Secure More Confidence for Your Financial Future


If retirement is looming on your horizon, you are probably wondering if you will have enough money to last you through the rest of your life. A secure guaranteed income stream can bring some peace of mind, but where exactly can you put one in place? After all, Social Security will provide some benefits, but will it be enough?

The good news is that even if you feel that you could have saved more money than what you have, there are still options for securing a guaranteed retirement income. Let’s take a deeper dive into what some of those options might look like, and what they can do for you.

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Pension Alternatives – What Are Your Options for a Secure Retirement?

pension alternatives

Are you looking for alternatives to a pension plan for guaranteed income in retirement? Perhaps you have a pension plan and worry about its future ability to make good on promised payments.

Pensions are becoming increasingly rare in corporate America today. Many private-sector employers have replaced pension plans with 401(k) or other profit-sharing plans to cut costs.

But if you are lucky enough to be privy to a pension plan, it’s important for you to know how it works, what you will get from it, and effective pension alternatives. And if you won’t be getting a pension, going over your alternative options can help you make well-informed decisions about retirement.

Let’s get into a deeper dive on pension plans, alternatives that are available and will pay you guaranteed income for life, and how these options look in the full spectrum of retirement planning.

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How Do Pensions Work?

how does a pension work

Are you counting on a pension when you retire? Are you familiar with how it works? In this article, we will give a quick overview of how a pension plan works, different types of pension plans, and how payments from a pension plan to retirees work.

Once you have a better understanding of how your pension works, you will be in a better position to make well-informed choices about your overall retirement. That can include whether other sources of retirement income will help you reach your goals. Read on for a deeper dive into the basics of a pension plan and how it works.

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Individual Retirement Annuities – A Closer Look At What They Are

individual retirement annuities

An individual retirement annuity is a retirement savings vehicle issued by life insurance companies. The individual retirement annuity can come in fixed or variable flavors. Similar to traditional and Roth IRAs, it works much like any individual retirement account (IRA) and is subject to contribution limits.

The retirement annuity offers a steady income stream to its owners, and it can have higher fees than IRAs. You can check with your financial professional for more details on that. The retirement annuity, like an IRA, is available in both traditional and Roth versions.

Therefore, the annuity owner can take the upfront contribution deduction available to the traditional account. Or they can choose to receive tax-free income at retirement. With the private pension rapidly disappearing, creating your own pension-style payment stream may be a good idea for you.

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How Life Insurance Company Ratings Work

life insurance company ratings

When you are looking for an annuity or a life insurance policy, people often say that you pay attention to life insurance company ratings. That is good advice, as it’s one primary indicator of an insurance company’s financial strength.

Unfortunately, they also don’t usually tell you how to find those ratings or what they mean. In this article, we will give a quick rundown of life insurance company rating basics, who gives them, and what these ratings mean for you.

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Bonus Annuity – How Does It Work?

bonus annuity

A bonus annuity is an annuity product that offers either an upfront bonus on premium or a first-year bonus on the interest rate. The premium bonuses are usually associated with fixed index annuities, while the interest rate bonus usually comes with a traditional fixed annuity. Bonuses are even attached to variable annuities on occasion.

Life insurance companies offer the bonus as an incentive to choose that annuity. One of the complexities of annuity bonuses is that, while they usually get credited on day 1, they actually vest over the contract’s life.

It’s good to know that generally speaking, the growth potential of a bonus annuity will be less than that of a non-bonus annuity. This is one trade-off for the annuity bonus.

Here’s a rundown of how bonus annuities work. This is a good starting point of what to look out for if you are considering a bonus annuity for your financial goals.

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Lock In Your Gains with Fixed Index Annuities and Protect Against Market Losses

lock in your gains with fixed index annuities

For some time, U.S. investors and retirees have been in the strange environment of extremely low interest rates coupled with high equity-market valuations. This has kept returns on annuities lower, but interest rates can change at any time. 

Of course, all of this can change at any time. It’s good to consider your interest rate environment, inflation, and other economic issues when considering an annuity.

In volatile markets, retirees and those close to retirement worry about the sequence of returns risk. Sequence risk arises out of the timing of losses. Losses late in one’s investment life, particularly near retirement, are challenging to recoup because of the short time window available. A loss that might be serious at 35 can be catastrophic at 55.

When you are building your nest egg, you have time to recoup from losses. That time may be shorter or longer, depending on your age, but it’s there, and you can recover. On the other hand, when you are actually living off those same assets, a bad return or loss can have a severe impact on your lifestyle. Moreover, since you are likely in a far more conservative asset allocation strategy, your ability to recover from the loss is more limited. 

Markets can take huge up or down swings at any time – or simply fluctuate in a small range. Those facing disastrous sequence losses when a market veers rapidly down wonder if there is a way to participate in market gains without facing the full fury of potential market losses.

In these conditions, retirees are looking for a place to obtain some growth but not face the risk of losses in the stock market. They want to be able to participate in some market gains, but not be fully exposed to the risks of actually being in the market.  One place to achieve that goal is in the fixed index annuity, or FIA.

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Next Steps to Consider

  • Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

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    Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

    Already working with someone or thinking about getting help? Ask us about what is on your mind. Learn More

  • What Independent Guidance
    Does for You

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    What Independent Guidance
    Does for You

    See how the crucial differences between independent and captive financial professionals add up. Learn More

  • Stories from Others
    Just Like You

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    Stories from Others
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    Hear from others who had financial challenges, were looking for answers, and how we helped them find solutions. Learn More

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