Are Annuities Safe?
Safety of money is generally relative to comparing levels of risk between Government backed (FDIC), insurance institution backed or individuals accepting securities or investment risk.
In regard to non-variable fixed annuities:
State Regulation forces insurance companies to follow what is known as Statutory Accounting unlike generally acceptable accounting methods (GAAP) utilized by publicly owned corporations. Statutory accounting is a “show me the money” type of accounting whereby expenses are written off immediately and not capitalized to inflate profits for corporate convenience or even fraud. Most insurance carriers are also publicly traded companies that additionally must also meet GAAP standards.
**Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values. During this segment, Dick and Eric are referring to Fixed Annuities unless otherwise specified.
Insurance institutions are required to demonstrate to state regulatory authorities that dollar for dollar a client’s money (premium) is safely on deposit in secure financial vehicles such as investment grade bonds or government bonds. In addition, they are required to have reserves known as additional surplus reserves. The minimum amount of required reserves is decided based on the safety of the investments as determined by state regulators. So based on these stringent requirements, insurance carriers are scrutinized and forced by law to meet and maintain a legal reserve for the safety of their clients.
Each insurance carrier is also compelled to participate in a mandated state insurance **guarantee association (SIGA) whereby insured clients have minimum **guarantees on their annuities and life insurance typically and minimally $100,000 to $250,000 on annuities and $300,000 on life insurance. Some states do have higher limits. These **guarantees are not to be confused with FDIC insurance or used in marketing insurance products. The state’s first concern is the safety of the policy-holder/client. So, in the majority of situations when an insurer begins to have any serious financial concerns the state places them in receivership and transfers ownership to a better run profitable carrier with all assets moved over from the faltering company. Thus the insured client remains whole and the **guarantee association is absolved of any further liability.
Beyond this, third-party rating agencies examine these insurance institutions under a microscope. These rating agencies include A.M. Best, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, Weiss, The Street and several others. These ratings can be watched year to year and vary slightly from one year to the next, so, it is possible to detect a developing problem way before a carrier reaches any serious financial challenge that could affect that carriers continued viability. These rating agencies produce detailed reports consisting of hundreds of pages of analysis from in-depth audits. They also summarize the insurers near term and long term future rating outlook typically as positive, negative or stable.
Here are some factors on annuities that give you unparalleled safety when seeking better returns than US government backed financial vehicles offer.
- History of Individual Companies meeting obligations over substantial time periods.
- High Ratings of the individual company selected.
- Insurers with Global Resources
- State Regulation and oversight
- Statutory Accounting requirements
- GAAP – General Accepted Accounting Practices (additional accounting requirements for public owned insurers)
- High investment quality requirements
- Legal reserve requirements
- SIGA (State Insurance Guarantee Association)
- State authority to force receivership
- Independent Rating Agencies
- The ability to move money before an insurer reaches insolvency by monitoring third party rating agencies.
In Summary, there are several layers of protection offered by using annuity or life insurance strategies as compared to diversified investment risk in the securities market. However, the greatest protection is to use your own awareness of rating agencies to monitor the health of the insurance company(s) you are utilizing for your portfolio. The greatest and most valuable safeguard you have is early detection and plenty of time to reposition your money in the unlikely event a highly-rated and well established carrier would get into financial difficulty.
Relative Levels of Safety vs Risk…
Let’s face it: when it comes to absolute safety of money, having the United States Government backing your money is unquestionably the safest place for it at this time on planet earth. It is also well-known that it is almost **guaranteed to grow at minimal rates (annuity rates 2018) and likely not keep pace with rising costs or the effects of true inflation. Government backed financial vehicles include FDIC insured banking instruments such as CDs, savings, money markets, checking, etc it also includes Treasury Notes, TIPs, T-Bills, Series E & I bonds, etc..The second safest place in the world to keep your money is likely to be highly regulated insurance companies offering annuities and life insurance. Please note that the emphasis here is on fixed and not variable annuities# or variable life products which place the insured client at risk for principal instead of the insurer assuming the risk.
The other alternatives involve individual investment risk with various diversified investments in the securities market. The strategy here is to use non-correlated investments to avoid significant losses. When one sector or allocation of your investments are down considerably the hope is that another sector or allocation will likely be up. This has never proven to be a safe or reliable strategy to base a retirement income strategy on if the income need relies on the valuation of the majority of the assets in the portfolio for the income to remain stable. Markets change quickly and there are so many factors ranging from political, competitive, global, war, natural disaster and even emotion to name a few. Unfortunately, there are not adequate warnings to make changes at critical points. Market timing almost always fails on a macro scale.
These are the views of AnnuityGuys.com, which does not give tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader/site visitor is advised to engage the services of a competent planner/educator/professional. Please consult a financial advisor for further information.
Using OutCome Based Planning™ for Your Retirement
We practice and recommend a "Holistic - OutCome Based Planning™ process when considering annuities." This approach has the effect of balancing your overall portfolio so you can meet your retirement objectives by "first identifying the least amount of your investments or savings (if any) that should be considered for annuities." OutCome Based Planning™ analyzes and models multiple outcomes so you can clearly identify your best income and growth opportunities.
"The Annuity Guys will only call if you request help". Hence, when you are ready for specialized help we will be available."Working with an Experienced Fiduciary Financial Planner can help you Avoid a Trial & Error or Risk Based Retirement"
This type of approach does take considerably more time, effort and analysis which will show you mathematically the successful possibilities by comparing various outcomes rather than trying to sell or convince you of that "so-called one best solution." Clients frequently tell us that this process removes some of the confusion and emotion to help them objectively identify a better retirement plan; rather than just ending up with the most convincing salesperson or advisor.
When requesting help you can be assured of working with an experienced Annuity Guys' Retirement Planner who is independently insurance licensed and securities licensed as a fiduciary financial planner having access to the vast majority of annuity companies in helping you choose the best annuities using a holistic-outcome based planning approach. We consider the high quality advisor recommendations we make to our website visitors as a direct reflection back on our commitment to serve all client's with a high standard of excellence in financial planning for retirement.
Based on survey feedback on advisors from our website visitors, we eliminated about two-hundred local advisors and now only recommend a few that we consider experienced vetted Annuity Guys' Fiduciary Advisors. Many local advisors continue requesting us to recommend them as a vetted advisor. However, our reputation and future business is driven only by satisfied website visitors. So, unfortunately we've had to tell the vast majority of local advisors no, since we changed our business model four years ago. At that time we stopped trying to satisfy everyone with local advisors, we now primarily work with individuals who are comfortable using today's internet technology to their fullest advantage by working with a select group of vetted, experienced and knowledgeable Annuity Guys' Fiduciary Planners.
Selecting the Best Annuity & Retirement Income Advisor
Are you willing to work with one of our retirement and annuity advisors based on their experience and expertise as a first priority rather than being limited by a local or regional area? The good news is that technology has forever eliminated our geographical limitations and leveled the playing field for everyone! As a result of today's technological advances, all of us can now work confidently with experts in any field including personal finance. We are no longer confined by regional or local boundaries limiting our choices and ultimate success. A high quality advisor is now as close as a click or phone call away.
"There is no room for trial and error when it comes to choosing MarketFree® Annuities or a Successful Retirement Planner."
"There are no undo buttons in retirement so it is vitally important that you do it right the first time!"
We are fortunate to have a select few who we believe are truly the highest qualified advisors out of about two hundred licensed insurance agents that we eliminated. Your survey feedback is what helps us make these tough decisions. Our advisors have an independent financial practice, specializing in annuities and retirement planning, which helps ensure that you are given the best options available for your retirement planning.
"It takes an experienced expert to know how to structure annuities for income, inflation, growth, return of principal, and tax advantage."
"Anyone can sell you an annuity; however, it takes a truly qualified and experienced advisor to know how to structure them for income, inflation, growth, return of principal, and tax advantage. Typically, there is not just one that can accomplish all of these objectives. It is how an advisor structures multiple annuities in balancing your total portfolio that makes it possible to achieve your most important retirement objectives."
Why Searching for the Best Annuities on Your Own Can be so Frustrating...Almost everyone nowadays turns to the internet for answers on everything - from buying new widgets to researching just about everything under the sun; and finding the best annuity is no exception!At first, it may seem that researching will be straightforward but the more time you spend researching them, the more frustrating it can be. Why is this? First of all, it does not take long to realize that gimmicks abound - such as warnings and alerts from salesmen who just want your attention so they can sell you one or the "too good to be true" claims of 8% to 14% **guaranteed interest and of course the claim that you can get the full market upside with no downside risk! If you have done any research you have heard all of these claims in advertising which are mostly half truths and not fully explained.So how can you find the best annuities on the internet? The truth is... you can't! And what is even more frustrating is all the conflicting points of view from so called experts. There are well over 6,000 different annuities - all designed for different reasons, so is it any wonder that the deck is stacked against the average researcher or do-it-yourselfer. Add to that the fact that they pay high enough commissions to attract a plethora of both good and bad agents. This does not make annuities good or bad; they are simply a financial tool that truly benefit those who use them correctly.How can you find the best annuities for your unique situation?
- Use the internet cautiously;
- Work with a vetted and experienced specialist;
- Do not settle for that one dubious best plan. Compare multiple Outcome Based Plans to decide on the one that is truly best for you;
- Be keenly aware of scare tactics and hyperbole - avoid those advisors and websites;
- Avoid websites that are focused on rushing free reports, rates and quotes to get your contact information they are rushing you to speak with them, instead, take your time and choose someone you are more comfortable with that works on your time-table;
- Know the Five Vital Factors (listed above) that an experienced specialist must answer before helping you select the best options for your situation;
- Watch this telling video "Avoid Annuity Gimmicks, Amateurs and Charlatans"...
** Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values. Annuities are not FDIC insured and it is possible to lose money.
They are insurance products that require a premium to be paid for purchase.
Annuities do not accept or receive deposits and are not to be confused with bank issued financial instruments.
During all video segments, Dick and Eric are referring to Fixed Annuities unless otherwise specified.
*Retirement Planning and annuity purchase assistance may be provided by Eric Judy or by referral to a recommended, experienced, Fiduciary Investment Advisor in helping our website visitors. Dick Van Dyke semi-retired from his Investment Advisory Practice in 2012 and now focuses on this website. He still maintains his insurance license in good standing and assists his current clients.
Our vetted and recommended Fiduciary Financial Planners are required to be properly licensed in assisting clients with their annuity and retirement planning needs. (Due diligence as a client is still always necessary when working with any advisor to check their current standing.)
Site Terms & Disclosure
- All tools, videos or information visible on this website's pages, television, or other media are for educational and conceptual purposes only.
- Tools, videos or information are not to be considered investment advice, insurance recommendations, tax or legal advice.
- It is recommended that site visitors should work with licensed professionals for individualized advice before making any important or final financial decisions on what is best for his or her situation.
- Website comments are not considered investor testimonials those shown only relate to an insurance agent referral service, customer service, or satisfaction with the purchase of insurance products and are never based on any investment or securities advice or investment or securities performance.
- Please be aware that your feedback and compliments may be shared with our visitors or those that may be interested in our services we will never give out your full name or full address or phone number without your permission. By sending us your feedback & comments you agree to allow us full use in sharing your comments with others in public forums. Thank you for sharing.
- Media logos are not any type of endorsement, they only imply that one or more of the Annuity Guys have written for, been quoted by, or appeared on the listed news outlet, broadcast or cable channels, or branded programs for non-advertising and/or advertising purposes, to offer educational and conceptual information about retirement issues.
- Income is guaranteed by annuitization or income riders that may have additional costs or fees.
- http://www.annuityguys.net & http://www.annuityguys.com forward to https://annuityguys.org. - Further all disclosures and information are to be considered as one and the same for any and all URL forwards, and these same disclosures and information also apply to all YouTube videos featuring Dick & Eric where ever they are viewed.
- MarketFree™ Annuity Definition: Any fixed annuity or portfolio of fixed annuities that protects principal / premium and growth by remaining market risk free.
- Market Free™ (annuities, retirements and portfolios) refer to the use of fixed insurance products with minimum guarantees that have no market risk to principal and are not investments in securities.
- Market Gains are a calculation used to determine interest earned as a result of an increasing market related index limited by various factors in the contract. These can vary with each annuity and issuing insurance company.
- Premium is the correct term for money placed into annuities principal is used as a universal term that describes the cash value of any asset.
- Interest Earned is the correct term to describe Market Free™ Annuity Growth; Market Gains, Returns, Growth and other generally used terms only refer to actual Interest Earned
- Market Free™ Annuities are fixed insurance products and only require an insurance license in order to sell these products; they are not securities investments and do not require a securities license.
- No Loss only pertains to market downturns and not if losses are incurred due to early withdrawal penalties or other fees for additional insurance benefits.
- Annuities typically have surrender periods where early or excessive withdrawals may result in a surrender cost.
- Market Free™ Annuities may or may not have a bonus. Some bonus products have fees or lower interest crediting and when surrendered early the bonus or part of the bonus may be forfeited as part of the surrender process which is determined by each contract.
- MarketFree™ Annuities are not FDIC Insured and are not guaranteed by any Government Agency.
- Annuities are not Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured and their guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company.
- State Insurance Guarantee Associations (SIGA) vary in coverage with each state and are not to be confused with FDIC which has the backing of the federal government.
- This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration.
- *"Best” refers only to the opinion of Dick, this site's author; or the opinion of Dick & Eric in videos and is not considered best for all individuals.
- *"APO” refers only to the Annual Pay-Out of annuities in the guaranteed lifetime income phase. *APO is NOT an annual yield or an annual rate of interest.
- AnnuityRateWatch.com, is only a linked to subscription service, which is not affiliated with this site, it supplies and updates all Annuity Rates, Features Ratings, Fees and Riders. AnnuityRateWatch.com's information is available in the public domain and accuracy is not verified or guaranteed since this type of information is always subject to change.
- Dick helps site visitors when help is requested. Dick may receive a referral fee as compensation from an advisor for a prospective client referral. This helps compensate Dick for time spent assisting site visitors and maintaining this educational website.
- Eric Judy is both insurance licensed and securities licensed. Eric offers securities as an investment adviser representative through Client One Securities, LLC.
- Eric purchases prospective client referrals from Annuity Guys Ltd. and may be compensated by commission for helping prospective clients purchase. Eric may also recommend these prospective clients to an advisor and earn a referral fee or a referral commission split.
- Vetted advisors refers to advisors that are insurance licensed and recommended based on referral experience from satisfied clients.
- Any recommendation of an advisor is only one aspect of any due diligence process. Each site visitor must accept full individual responsibility for choosing a licensed insurance agent/advisor.
- In the event that a recommended licensed advisor/agent is not considered satisfactory, Eric will make reasonable efforts to recommend other advisors one at a time in an attempt to satisfy a site visitors planning or purchasing needs.
- Dick is the website author and editor, Annuity Guys Ltd. is the website owner; Eric is a guest video commentator. Videos gathered from other public domain sources may also be used for educational and conceptual purposes.
- There is NO COST to site visitors when they are given an advisor referral or recommendation.
- By giving the us your contact information such as email, phone number, address and etc. you are giving your permission to be contacted or sent additional relevant information about annuities, retirement and related financial information. We have a NO SPAM policy.
- Accuracy of website information is strived for but is not guaranteed.
- Freedom from virus or malware is strived for but is not guaranteed. Website visitors accept any and all risk associated with damage to any computer for any reason when using this website and hold this website harmless from any liability.
- Use this website like the vast majority of websites at your own risk. No risk or liability of any type are accepted by any business entity or any of the information providers for this website.