Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Variable & Indexed Annuities

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how-to-grow-annuity-income

How to Grow Annuity Income

Old-style defined benefit pension plans are looking more attractive to many retirees and near-retirees. A defined benefit (DB) plan pays a fixed monthly amount for life, and many even increase the payment for inflation each year. When the stock market is volatile and uncertain, and bond yields are low, a DB plan can look good. […]

equity-annuities-the-short-course

Equity Annuities: The Short Course

Are you still trying to figure out equity-indexed annuities? I’ve reviewed these popular products several times, including in September’s visit. An easy way to learn the details of these annuities is to read the free booklet, The Future of Retirement Savings. It is available from WealthMasters, Inc., (3200 N. Dobson Rd., Bldg. C, Chandler, AZ […]

new-looks-in-annuities

New Looks in Annuities

Recent changes are making annuities hot again. At least that’s what the annuity sellers want you to believe. Some of the new annuity features are attractive. But others are just sales gimmicks. The biggest changes are in fixed annuities. The bear market in stocks initially drew investors to safer investments, such as fixed annuities. But […]

equity-indexed-annuities

Equity Indexed Annuities

Equity indexed annuities are back. Sharp stock market moves seem to stir sales of these annuities. A strong stock market draws conservative investors to them, seeking higher returns than their fixed income investments. A bear market causes other investors to look for a safer way to invest in stocks. Unfortunately, few investors really know what […]

overdue-annuity-abuse-crackdowns

Overdue Annuity Abuse Crackdowns

Regulators finally are focusing their efforts on some negative aspects of the variable annuity market that we’ve been discussing for years. Recently, several actions were taken by the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The NASD, which regulates its broker members, in April proposed new rules governing variable annuity marketing. […]

whats-left-for-variable-annuities

What’s Left For Variable Annuities?

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 […]

how-social-security-can-help-your-spouse

How Social Security Can Help Your Spouse

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 […]

uncovering-the-no-fee-variable-annuity

Uncovering The No Fee Variable Annuity

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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