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    Q.

    “Why are more retiring engineers, teachers, health care professionals, managers, lawyers, accountants, and tech workers choosing annuities for their 401k, 403b & IRA rollovers?

    A. 

    • Preservation of principal
    • Certainty of income
    • More income than bonds
    • A way to “buy a pension”, without “locking up” money
    • Strong diversification (non-correlated to stock market or real estate.)

    As more companies move away from pension plans to 401k plans (where you are on our own to derive future income), annuities are being recognized as a way to own an asset that can pay recurring reliable income for a lifetime.)

     

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    Once upon a time, annuities were stodgy and restrictive. There were very few choices available for consumers.

    You were forced to give up access to your capital in order to be guaranteed a steady reliable, lifetime income—like a pension.

    Today, that has all changed.

    Annuities have been made consumer friendly.

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    What is an annuity?

    An annuity is an agreement with a licensed, regulated and audited insurance company to watch over your money and pay it back to you with interest in one of three ways: a) through steady withdrawals of 5% to 10% per year, b) through an “annuitization” (converting your lump sum to a stream of lifetime payments backed by the reserves of the company), or c) cashing out, just as you would with a bank account or mutual fund.
    Annuities are similar to mutual funds or bank CDs in the sense that you are placing funds with a licensed trustee. They differ greatly from mutual funds and CDs by virtue of the fact that an annuity can be used to create guaranteed lifetime income for two spouses, much like a pension from work.

    An annuity is not a market-traded asset likes stocks and mutual funds. Annuities are contracts for specific performance, which is a major benefit to retirees.

    What are the 4 kinds of annuities?

    There are four broad categories of annuities:

    1. Immediate
    2. Variable
    3. Fixed
    4. Fixed Index (also known by nicknames—hybrid, new generation, next gen, and Next Generation)

    What should I know about comparing annuities before making my decision?

    You should always consider the source of the information you are getting about annuities.

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    Your stock broker or a financial advisor who focuses on accumulating money on a fee basis may criticize annuities, in some cases because it takes revenue from their plate.

    What we have found is this: If they do recommend annuities, it may be based on minimal research because annuities are a sideline for them. Often, a professional who is proficient in managing stocks, bonds, and mutual funds for accumulating money has not spent much time studying annuities. This is reasonable and fine. The advisor may mean well and be eager to serve.

    However, the better practice is that person should defer to an advisor with a deep background in annuities  who has done substantial research and comparison—AND will help you compare before settling for the first one.

    At IQ Wealth, we are fiductiaries. We are willing to work with you on your annuity choice, even if you keep your investments with another broker or do them yourself.

    Brokers will usually only be offering variable annuities. Variable annuities tend to be very expensive.

    Sources like Ken Fisher who “hate annuities” and think you should, too—obviously are using the tactic to get visitors to their website, where they can pitch their management services for annual fees that are typically 1% to 2% annually. Over ten years, that will total 10% to 20% and over 20 years that will total 20% to 40% in fees—and you still will never have a simple secure guaranteed lifetime income.

    An annuity strategy can be the core and the foundation of a sustainable retirement strategy. It never relies on the stock market going up, and still pays you income when the market goes down.

    The right annuity can perform the function that bond funds are no longer equipped to perform.

     

    What annuity is best for an IRA rollover?

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    While any of the four kinds of annuities can be used for your IRA rollover, deferred annuities with income riders offer more control to the investor.

    If you prefer to retain access to your principal and preserve your death benefit, the choice comes down to whether or not you want to take principal risk and pay fees--or not.

    Variable annuities are "loaded" with fees. For that reason, demand has increased for the "Next Generation" style of fixed index annuities, with optional income riders.

    This type of annuity offers a compelling combination of principal preservation, combined with exceptional income and the opportunity to grow capital based on the upward movements of market indexes. Your money is never subjected to stock market losses.

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    Be careful with variable annuities

    Given the choice, most people would prefer not to pay 3% a year in fees while risking principal, however, that is part of the business model of variable annuities.

    We do not view variable annuities as the optimal choice, since the stock market’s risk is currently at an all time high, and the annual fees can be three to four percent annually—FOR LIFE. In that regard, we definitely agree with Ken Fisher. He has said that variable annuities are too expensive to grow any money in retirement. We agree!

    Documented statistics on fixed index annuities, by such sources as the Wharton School of Business and others, clear show a more optimal choice for the conservative to moderate investor looking to simply their lives, increase their income, and lower their fees.

    Remember, only a part of your money goes to the annuity. You still are left with plenty to invest as you see fit. In the IQ Wealth Safer Buckets retirement system, annuities are used for the Income bucket. By using fewer dollars to achieve more income, more of your money is left over to invest for the long term in the Growth bucket.

    The correctly chosen annuity with flexible and dynamic income benefits can fill the void currently left by low interest rates on bonds and bank accounts.

    If you’re looking to get off the stock market roller coaster, and upgrade your retirement income replacement strategy, we can help you compare and make a wise choice.

     

    Today's annuities make old annuities obsolete. Here are the facts:

    income-rider

    Our clients enjoy expert education in annuities without sales hype or  sales pressure.

    We are independent and committed for fiduciary duty. Our system compares leading annuity carriers and hundreds of annuities.

    Newer forms of annuities can simultaneously allow for lifetime income without giving up access to your principal. This is accomplished through the use of specialized income riders¹.

    Income riders require comparison. There can be as much as a 30% to 40% difference in the amount of income paid from the top paying annuities to the worst paying. We'll help you compare and make a wise annuity selection.

    Kiplinger reported in 2013 that it recognized annuities are going into IRAs and 401(k)s  more frequently. The tax deferral is not the reason. It is the income security and other benefits motivating the consumer. They noted a statement from Brian Kunkel, national director of advanced planning and solutions for Prudential Annuities, who said that annuities with guaranteed income streams are "increasingly popular (in 401(k)s) with investors who have been burned by stock market volatility." (Kiplinger, June 2012.)

    With 76 million baby boomers retiring at a rate of 10,000 a day, more will be looking for simplicity, safety and income than stretching out for risk in the stock market. The insurance industry has responded with annuity offerings that are more flexible, liquid and consumer-friendly than ever.

    Today's low interest rate environment makes bond ladders unfeasible.  The search is on for more effective ways to replace income from employment. More retirees are retiring without a pension and therefore in the market for an annuity to provide a secure lifetime income stream.

    There are income riders, death benefit riders and combination riders. Some riders can increase income over time, which can be a benefit in protecting against inflation.

    “Uncapped” vs. “Capped”

    A term you will hear more and more is  “uncapped” when applied to fixed index annuities (FIAs). Here's what you need to know.

    • First and foremost, “uncapped” does not mean unlimited. With any FIA, you always forego some of the upside interest credit in exchange for having no exposure to losses. Most people understand there is never something for nothing.
    • Fixed index annuities (FIAs) are in the class of fixed annuities which offer various methods of crediting interest from period to period based on movements of a market index. This period can be from year to year, every two years or every five years. FIAs are contracts for performance with insurance companies. They are not investments and do not participate in the stock or bond markets directly, but instead are interest-gathering instruments. They are insurance products designed to meet long-term needs for retirement income, and they provide guarantees against the loss of principal and credited interest.
    • FIAs also offer the reassurance of a death benefit for your beneficiaries. In years when the market index is negative, a fixed index annuity reflects a zero interest rate for that period. That would be true no matter which type of crediting strategy is chosen, capped or uncapped. In years where the applicable index has a positive movement upward, the consumer may receive an interest rate that reflects a share of the index movement, reduced in some way by a cap, a margin spread or a participation rate. A combination may also occur.

    Note:

    • Newer versions of fixed index annuities (FIAs) may offer lower volatility indexes that may feature "uncapped" index crediting strategies. The term uncapped does not mean unlimited. Typically a margin will apply, meaning the consumer does not receive the margin amount, but then may receive, as interest, the rest of the increase without a cap. Back casting of indexes is meant only to assist in understanding and gauging how interest might be credited. The consumer has a choice between fixed guaranteed level strategies, and those with the potential for higher levels of interest. As with all financial products and indexes, past performance is neither predictive nor a guarantee of future results.

    Key point: No crediting method credits the “most” interest in all market scenarios. That’s why working with an experienced, licensed and qualified advisor willing to take the time to help you compare all strategies is beneficial.  Always remember that annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company.  Thank  you.

    FACT: Most journalists are not aware of, or ignore, the extensive research that has now been done on using annuities properly in retirement.

    Information, knowledge and wisdom are three completely different concepts. Who should the consumer turn to for real-world advice?  A reporter in a magazine? They may have information, but do they have an understanding of your particular need for income preservation and principal protection? Should you turn to a Wall Street broker or advisor whose goal is maintaining assets under management and who "hates annuities" with a dogmatic passion?  Let's just say you may not get a combination of information, knowledge and wisdom from that source.

    Perhaps the best solution is to gather information, seek more knowledge and work toward arriving at wisdom. At IQ Wealth, we believe the consumer should delve into actual research performed by credible academic sources. These sources should not be journalists, brokers or the glowing reports on an insurance company's brochure.
    Thankfully, there has been a body of growing evidence pointing to annuities in this era of low interest rates, unpredictable markets and longer lifespans.

    Substantial research into annuities' real-world returns, diversification capabilities and income efficiency has now been done by credible academic researchers.

    The most prominent is that of Professor David Babbel of the Wharton School of Business. After several years of research exploring 14years of results, here is an excerpt from one of his summaries:

    “The consensus of the literature from professional economists is that lifetime income annuities should definitely play a substantial role in the retirement arrangements of most people. How great a role depends on a number of factors, but it is fair to say that, for most people, lifetime income annuities should comprise from 40 to 80 percent of their retirement assets under current pricing. Generally speaking, if a person has no bequest motive, or is averse to high risk, the portion of wealth allocated to annuities should be at the higher end of this range.”

    "...Wall Street is a proven resource for accumulating capital over time, provided a person has the time and talent to properly manage risk and opportunity. Wall Street, however, does not provide packaged solutions for secure lifetime income. Only life insurance companies issue regulated annuities. Very few investments can offer steady income without depleting capital over time due to sequence of returns risk. A proper annuity strategy can fit that bill."

    -David Babbel, Wharton School of Business

    This doesn't mean you should run out and buy an annuity and, it is not an endorsement. Opinions about annuities should always be compared against verifiable facts. Your retirement is too important to leave to chance. Your broker or advisor may not favor annuities. Based on what? His or her opinion?  It is quite possible they are accumulation specialists with limited knowledge in all four kinds of annuities, as well as the advancements that have taken place over the past several years.

    When discussing larger portions of your retirement capital, and especially an item as vital as reliable and sustainable retirement income, there is no room for dogmatic beliefs or unresearched bias.

    It can be said that investment securities and annuities are at opposite ends of the financial spectrum. Investments can be speculative and are not suitable for attempting to guarantee a lifetime income. Annuities, on the other hand, are not designed as growth instruments. They are designed to preserve and build income security in retirement that can last for the lifetime of the owner, as well as his or her spouse.

    Let prudence and purpose dictate - -here are some annuity basics.

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution for retirement planning. You should be concerned not with what the "average" investor does with his or her money. You should be concerned with what you actually want and need to accomplish with yours.

    It's wise to be realistic about the stock market and understand that it moves in cycles and even in "fads."  The alert person recognizes that the cycle can end in the midst of income withdrawals. This is a proven recipe for income depletion or "scaling back" and settling for less cash flow. An annuity can be the answer. Comparison with a professional who can offer objective input is not only recommended, it is imperative.

    As a Certified Income Specialist™ with more than 17 years of advisory experience, I can help you find the right annuity or combination of annuities through a proven process. Never settle for the first annuity you see.  Although you may hear terms like "hybrid" and "new generation," those are generally marketing nicknames, not specific annuities registered with the state.

     

    Annuities can perform a valuable function in a retirement portfolio due to the low interest rates and market volatility that is part of the current long-term trend.  All guarantees rely on the claims-paying ability of the insurer. Knowing what is guaranteed, and what isn't, is very important. The IQ system reviews and compares the top payouts in America today, sorting through hundreds of annuities and zeroing in the top 10 to 25 in your category. This process can save thousands in fees, and can result in thousands of dollars of extra income annually. Together, we can select the correct annuity for you and make it part of a balanced portfolio. (888)310-1776.

    This overview is very general  in nature, is not a prospectus, and is not complete. It is a beginning, not an end. No recommendations are being made herein. Only with a personal review of your risk tolerance and time horizon can a recommendation be made.  Our hope is to stimulate you to do further research and to ask better questions. Always review the annuity disclosures and or prospectus carefully. Thank you.

    Annuities are not bank deposits and are not FDIC insured. * Annuities are contracts between you and an insurance company. Annuity product guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer.

    This article is meant to provide general information on issues that many people consider in making the decision as to whether or not they should buy annuities; and if they do decide to buy, which types of annuities and which annuity benefits and additional riders will best suit their goals and needs. This information is not designed to be a recommendation to buy any specific financial product or service. Thank you.

     

    ¹Note:
    Investments and annuities are on opposite ends of the financial spectrum.

    Therefore, we maintain two divisions: securities and insurance. Fee-based investment advisory services are provided by IQ Wealth Advisory, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Insurance and annuities are provided by IQ Wealth Management--Insurance Division.

    Annuities are insurance-based financial vehicles designed not for growth but for income preservation and sustainability. Annuities are not FDIC insured and may have surrender charges for a period of time. Generally, a partial withdrawal of 5 to 10 percent is allowed annually, penalty free. The annuities we recommend waive all surrender charges upon death. All guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing insurer. At IQ Wealth, our policy is to require at least 100 years of successful track records and strong ratings for any insurance company we recommend.

    Income riders are a means to enhance the income benefits provided by the underlying annuity contract. A discussion regarding whether an annuity would meet your needs and objectives should take place before deciding if an income rider is appropriate.

    External link policy:

    External links, which direct our website visitors to sites outside the Arizona Department of Insurance's review, are provided throughout our website for your convenience.

    The appearance of a hyperlink on our website does not constitute endorsement by IQ Wealth Management, IQ Wealth Advisory or Steve Jurich. These links are provided for convenience only. We do not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find through external links, and bear no responsibility for the accuracy or content of web pages accessed through external links. Any concerns or comments related to the contents of the sites accessed through external links should be directed to the author of that website. Use of any information obtained from such external links is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy and timeliness.

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