GMB Ep #73: The Few Circumstances Where Variable Annuities Make a Lot of Sense

Variable annuities are a set of commonly offered insurance products that promise consumers a consistent income stream. In general, these products tend to become more beneficial to insurance companies and representatives who sell these products rather than consumers buying them. However, in recent years insurance companies have started to offer products that may be more consumer friendly. Throughout today’s episode, we dive deep into what variable annuities are, how they’re structured, and some of the scenarios where you might want to consider them.

 

 

Show Notes

[01:07] Background – How professionals in the financial planning and insurance industries view variable annuities and why there are different perspectives on the integrity of the insurance-based investment solutions.

[05:23] Annuities – Different configurations of annuities and how the returns vary according to the type of investment.

[11:23] Understanding Variable Annuities – Grant reviews what variable annuities are, how they work, and why Grant isn’t a big fan of variable annuities.

[16:45] Features and Fees – Over the years, Grant has reviewed lots of annuity policies. He dives into the most common types of fees insurance companies charge their customers in exchange for various features in the policies and some of the issues associated with the fees and commissions.

[22:13] New Developments – In recent years insurance companies have started making adjustments and improvements to their products. Grant talks about some of these updates and how they address the issues from older policies.

[25:36] Reasonable Options – Grant dives into some of the scenarios where obtaining a variable annuities policy may make sense to a consumer.

 

Resources:

How to Analyze a Variable Annuity

Case Study: Retiring With $1,000,000

Case Study: Retiring With $1,000,000

Those of you who know me know that I’m a massive baseball fan.  And when it comes to famous quotes from baseball players, one person comes to mind more than any other: Yogi Berra.

Yogi Berra was a long time catcher for the Yankees and had an incredible hall of fame career.  He was equally known for his head-scratching quotes, which the world has affectionately termed “Yogi-isms.”  Yogi didn’t comment often on financial topics, but he does have one quote that applies nicely to retirement planning:

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

When we think about retirement planning, many people consider $1,000,000 as kind of a “golden threshold.”  They think of a million dollars as the minimum nest egg they’ll need in order to retire comfortably.  But as Yogi pointed out, being a millionaire doesn’t amount to what it used to.

So is it even possible to retire with $1,000,000 these days?

Let’s find out.  In this post we’ll explore a hypothetical couple named John and Jane.  They’ve saved $1,000,000 and want to retire, which is a very common situation for many Americans.

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Does the 4% Rule Still Work

Does the 4% Rule Still Work?

Recently I had a client come into my office who was concerned about his and wife’s and his retirement.

This client works at a company that sponsors a 401(k), but his wife works for the state and will receive a pension after retiring.  My client was concerned that his 401(k) savings wouldn’t be enough to cover their annual living expenses, after accounting for their pension and social security benefits.

“Do we need to save more?  I’m not sure we could.  We’ve got Danny in college now and our daughter right behind him.  I’m just worried we’ll zero out our savings and have to cut back on spending.”

We talked about how much he was saving in his 401(k), and how much that might amount to in 15 years when they planned to retire.  But really, the crux of my client’s concern was that he’d spend through his savings too fast after they stopped working.

In his financial plan, we’d originally planned for withdrawals of 3.5% of his nest egg per year.  Whatever was left over after he and his wife passed would go to the kids.

“I just think that 3.5% might be too much.  I’ve been reading some pretty negative things about the 4% rule recently.  3.5% just seems too close for comfort.  What’s your take on it?”

 

 

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