How many times have you heard someone say “You have to learn from your mistakes”. Well, we are going to make it easy for you. This week, you get to learn from other folk’s annuity mistakes!
Annuities can be great financial products when they are used for the right reasons to accomplish specific goals. However, when they are offered as a panacea for all financial ills, that is where you need to be wary. Annuities have significant benefits and limitations; unfortunately, many [continued below video…]
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.
[continued]…advisors only want to talk about the positive aspects of these products – hoping you will not place much weight on the limitations of annuities.
On a positive note; ultimately, proper use of annuities (or any financial vehicle) is dependent upon your financial goals and plans. And before you purchase or invest in any financial product or security, make sure that it is the right tool for the job.
Here is a list of “Five Annuity Mistakes you Should Avoid” so you can learn from the mistakes of others that have come before you.
- Using short term money for a long term strategy;
- Placing too much money in lower rated annuity companies;
- Putting too much or not enough money into annuities;
- Expecting a return or interest growth that is unrealistic;
- Paying too much in fees.
Here is another recent related article that you may enjoy.
October 23, 2015
People seem to either love annuities or hate them.
According to Kiplinger, only about 8 percent of Americans get any sort of retirement income from private annuities, even though there are some definite benefits to owning one.
The problem might be the misconceptions surrounding them. If you don’t go in with your eyes open, an annuity could be the worst financial decision that you ever made. But if you know what you’re buying and manage it the right way, it’s . Often for life, and sometimes for the life of you or your spouse if one of you dies.
Maybe it’s not a question whether or not, but how to use an annuity.
Mistakes seem to be the real culprit, and not the annuities themselves. It’s been said before. Annuities, and really any retirement financial vehicles, are tools. There’s a right way and a wrong way to approach them.
And here are 5 of the top mistakes that you can avoid:
#1: Ignoring the Costs
Costs vary with annuities, depending on where you buy them. The Motley Fool‘s Todd Campbell ranks this annuity mistake as #1, particularly because it can cost you now, later, and for the life of the annuity.
Annuities are profitable for brokers because the fees are so much higher than other investments, says Campbell. Commissions can be as high as 10 percent, on top of other related expenses. But it’s avoidable if you ask up front and shop around for the best rates. You don’t have to buy an annuity from a broker. Steve Vernon for CBS Money Watch says that you can buy immediate annuities through online annuity shopping services, and variable ones through companies such as Vanguard.
#2 Choosing the Wrong Annuity
You wouldn’t buy a subcompact vehicle if you had 5 kids, and buying the wrong annuity is just as shortsighted. Vernon explains that there are four basic annuity choices: Fixed dollar amount, inflation-adjusted, variable, **guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit, and **guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit.
With each choice comes a set of pros and cons. For example, a fixed-rate annuity gives you a set rate of return. That might sound great until you think about inflation, which this type of annuity doesn’t do. Variable annuities have a variable rate of return, but that means it can go up or down because they’re usually backed by mutual fund^s, says Campbell. Learn as much as you can about your choices before you commit and you won’t have surprises on down the road.
Don’t cheat yourself by taking too much.
#3 Taking Extra Withdrawals
With a **guaranteed annuity, you’ll have a set percentage that you can withdraw, or take in distributions, each year. It might be 5 percent, but you could take more, at least with some annuities, if you wanted to. That’s a bad idea, according to Kiplinger, because it can slash your **guaranteed value.
If you withdraw your set percentage, your **guaranteed annuity value will remain untouched for the life of the annuity. But if you take just a few thousand dollars more than you should, and you only do that once, your **guaranteed value will reduce, and so will all of your future distributions for life.
#4 Not Naming Your Spouse as Beneficiary
If you’re married, a joint-life annuity makes sense for you and your spouse. But you also need to name your spouse as primary beneficiary. There’s a difference, and it can be a major one.
With a joint-life annuity that names an IRA as beneficiary, your spouse would only get the actual value at your death. That’s what you invested, less what’s already been paid to you. With a joint-life annuity that names your spouse as beneficiary, the same regular payments would continue as before, for the rest of your spouse’s life. Depending on when this happens, that could add up to a lot of money.
#5 Not Considering an Annuity At All
Perhaps the biggest annuity mistake is to not evaluate annuities as part of your retirement plan at all.
Running out of money in retirement is one of the biggest concerns of most retirees. And it can be hard to solve the problem since you simply don’t know how long you are going to live.
A lifetime annuity can **guarantee income for as long as you live — no matter how long that might be. You can **guarantee that you get all of your money back. You can protect your spouse. There are some very compelling reasons to consider an annuity.
See more retirement information at newretirement.com.