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Annuities – what they are, how they work and how to choose the best type of Annuity

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How to Find the Right Annuity for You

December 1, 2003

Annuity companies had their own scandals long before the mutual fund sleaze grabbed the headlines. Yet even now, annuities aren’t in the clear. There are reports that variable annuity issuers also allowed select investors to make guaranteed-profit trades just as some mutual funds did. Annuities can be valuable financial tools for the right investors. To […]

estate planning

Estate Planning: Charitable Annuity vs. Charitable Trust

November 1, 2003

Charitable Remainder Trusts get a lot of attention from estate planners. Yet, they might not be the best option for many estate owners. There is the less-known charitable gift annuity to consider. Each strategy shelters appreciated assets from capital gains taxes, reduces current income taxes, provides income for life or for a period of years, […]


What’s Left For Variable Annuities?

August 1, 2003

Some of the strongest opponents of the 2003 tax cuts were insurance companies. It’s no wonder. The new law significantly tarnishes the appeal of variable annuities and cash value life insurance. Market forces, meanwhile, are making fixed annuities less appealing to some investors. A Variable Annuity allows the owner to select how the account is […]


Beware Of Troubled Insurers

January 1, 2003

Insurers are under stress. Their stock portfolios lost a bundle in the bear market, and yields on their bond portfolios are way down. Many set low premiums in the 1990s to increase market share, or they promised benefits they cannot deliver today. The result is a number of safety rating downgrades for annuity and life […]


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Deducting Variable Annuity Losses

December 1, 2002

A big tax issue for many investors is whether or not losses in a Variable Annuity are deductible. It is possible to deduct a variable annuity loss. There is some disagreement, however, over where on the tax return to deduct the loss. To deduct the loss, the annuity has to be sold (liquidated). Shifting investments […]


How Social Security Can Help Your Spouse

December 1, 2002

A key issue everyone faces is when to begin Social Security benefits. One aspect of this decision that is easy to overlook is how the choice could affect a spouse’s lifetime income. We’ve discussed when to begin Social Security benefits in past visits, most recently in the May 2002 issue (available in the Archive of […]


Annuities that provide Stock Returns Without Risk?

September 1, 2002

There’s a new top-seller among annuities. Buyers are flocking to the relatively new equity-indexed annuities. The last time these annuities were hot was in 1996-1997. At the time many investors had a lot of doubts about the stock market and were looking for a way to capture possible future stock gains without much risk. Insurers […]


Uncovering The No Fee Variable Annuity

September 1, 2002

Insurers always are coming out with gimmicks that aren’t all they initially appear to be. A good example is the new “no-fee” variable annuities. I’ve been among those who for years have said that the high expenses of variable annuities make them unattractive to those who won’t let the investment returns accumulate for at least […]

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