What made fixed index annuities and hybrid annuities the fastest growing annuity type on the market according to a LIMRA report? Why would you consider a hybrid annuity when planning your retirement? Dick and Eric look at hybrid annuities and what makes them so special.
**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.
What are Hybrid Annuities?
Hybrid annuities, also referred to as hybrid income annuities, are essentially a type of insurance contract allowing the account owner to allocate his or her assets into a fixed annuity with a market benchmark component, having an income rider or riders that give substantial present or future **guarantees to secure a variety of retirement objectives.
These annuities refer to a combination of several unique aspects of various types of annuities that have been combined. Technically, a hybrid annuity is a fixed index annuity with an innovative new generation income rider attached to it.
Some hybrid annuities can help to resolve the concerns with regard to other needs in addition to asset growth and retirement income––such as long-term care funding or wealth transfer to heirs––while still providing one with a secure income. These annuities are considered by many to be the answer to satisfying a combination of retirement objectives combined into one solution, thus having the potential to solve several issues in retirement.
Obtaining a hybrid annuity essentially works the same way that you choose any annuity, in that making an allocation begins by choosing the hybrid annuity after comparing rates, features and ratings that meet key retirement objectives and then funding the hybrid annuity contract with a licensed agent as the final step.
With some hybrids, if funds are required for needs such as long-term care, with certain hybrid annuities, owners can have access to withdrawals for that purpose by way of an accelerated cash account payout or a **guaranteed increased income payout, in some cases for as long as it is needed. However, if they do not need the funds for that purpose, they will receive their lifetime **guaranteed retirement income just as it was structured or use the annuity for moderate growth as a secure asset foundation to balance their portfolio.
Annuity Guys® Video Transcript:
Dick: We’re going to talk about hybrid annuities today. We’ve have a lot of different subjects, and a lot of times, Eric, we touch on hybrid annuities. But let’s talk about why they’re so popular and maybe, before we actually get into that, let’s talk about what they are.
Eric: Oh sure. I was ready to talk about why they’re so popular. What is a hybrid annuity? People call up and say, “Well, I’ve been talking to this guy about a hybrid annuity.
Eric: Then the first thing I do is I say, “Stop,” because hybrid unfortunately has become a marketing term for a lot of individuals.
Dick: A hybrid annuity, to us, is the fixed index or fixed annuity, usually with an indexing component, and then it has a rider typically that **guarantees income for life. These are like the newer, more innovative income riders. I know you run into this. I run into it. Folks will start describing a variable annuity# to me, and they’ll start saying it’s a hybrid. They may have just confused it with a hybrid, or they may have been told it’s a hybrid.
Eric: In all fairness to the variable annuity#, it was really the first one to have those riders that would give income for life.
Dick: That’s true.
Eric: So if you think of just that rider being that contextual piece that makes it more of a hybrid. Well, in my mind those pieces were always part of the variable. They weren’t part of the fixed. So the fixed has kind of morphed its way, to use a different term I guess, into that variable.
Dick: How long has it been that fixed annuities? I’m going back I would say . . .
Eric: I’m much too young to know.
Dick: I would say that it was about somewhere seven years ago that the riders on the fixed annuities really started to pick up steam. And like you say, on the variable annuities#, they’d already been kind of a mainstay for the variable annuities#.
Eric: Right. I think what they saw was the variable annuity# market had a lot of traction. People really appreciated for life without having to give up their assets.
Dick: Without annuitizing
Eric: Right, annuitizing. And that’s where we always talk about the immediate annuities, that’s the component they have. You can get income for life, but you have to give up your assets. So why people are attracted and what makes hybrid annuities so popular is that aspect of, basically, income for life **guarantees without having to give up your assets. You can still pass on money to heirs. You can still change your mind. You have majority access as we like to say.
Dick: Yes, or majority control.
Eric: Majority control. So the aspect of the hybrid annuity is actually very popular for those specific reasons right now. The other thing I see right now, especially in today’s economy, when you look at where rates are, as far as what’s being paid on the growth side, not extremely attractive.
Dick: It’s not very good. It kind of goes back to the bank CD rates, savings rates, and money markets are all effected typically by the ten year Treasury, and we have that same effect on the annuities. If we said they’re paying double what the banks pay, it’s still not very much.
Eric: No. Two times nothing is still nothing.
Dick: Exactly. So you might be looking at a 2% to 3% range maybe on a fixed annuity or even a fixed index annuity. And yet, on a recent report, Eric, that we were just talking about, the LIMRA Report, it showed that people purchasing annuities, those sales are down pretty dramatically, except for the fixed index, which is what we consider the hybrid.
Eric: Which is the base of the hybrid.
Dick: Exactly. And let’s just say that for the sake of conversation, folks, in today’s annuity world, the mainstream hybrid annuity is considered the fixed indexed annuity with one of the newer income riders on it. So just for the sake of clarification, when you’re speaking with people, you really have to clarify terms. Ninety percent of what’s talked about on the Internet and what’s talked about, advisor to client and advisor to advisor, is a hybrid annuity is a fixed annuity with a newer, innovative type income rider on it.
Eric: That’s right. And those are the pieces right now that are for the upcoming retirees, basically or near retirees, as I like to think of them. That’s what makes it really attractive, because those companies are still providing some of those **guarantees in deferral for the growth component on those hybrid annuities.
That’s the other aspect of that income rider usually. It’s I’m going to **guarantee a certain percentage of growth in deferral. Right now, we’ve got in the range of 4%, 5%, 6%, 7% still available in that deferred growth. So for somebody who’s thinking about retiring in the next five to seven years, if you’re uncomfortable with what you think is going to happen in the market necessarily and you want that **guarantee, it’s **guaranteed and predictable. Those are two aspects that give near retirees comfort.
Dick: Well, and this is where, when we go back and we compare it to the variable annuity# and we say sales are down in variable annuities#, and yet they’re up in indexed annuities, there’s not as much potential on an indexed annuity for growth. People aren’t interested today so much in potential and growth as they are in **guarantees.
Eric: Safety and **guarantees.
Dick: Safety and **guarantee of principal, and I also say there’s one more factor that makes these so popular and that is cash flow, because we spend our life, our careers building our money up and saving, and we look at growth. So we’re accumulating net money. But what are we accumulating it for?
Eric: To spend it.
Dick: We need to spend it, effectively and efficiently, and that’s what the hybrid annuity does, is it allows you to know what type of cash flow you’re going to have throughout your retirement, to ladder it, stage it, cover some inflation hedge aspects. I believe that’s what’s driving the popularity of this hybrid annuity.
Eric: Yes, I would agree. I would say 90% of the questions I get about annuities are about hybrid annuities. When I talk to people, I say the best thing about a hybrid you work backwards. Tell me what income you want and when you want it, and I can use a hybrid annuity . . .
Dick: And we’ll tell you the least amount of money to put in to get there.
Eric: To get there. People are like, “Yes, that’s what I want. I want that predictability, reliability, and **guarantees, those contractual **guarantees.”
Dick: So, folks, we hope that this has cleared up some of your concerns and potential misconceptions, or confirmed the things that you already know about a hybrid annuity. It’s very much a part of the financial planning community today and what’s being used and what’s effective. Anything that we can do to give you more clarity and maybe some direction on these hybrid annuities, we’ll be glad to do it.
Eric: And hopefully we explained why they’re so popular right now.
Eric: Thanks for tuning us in.
Dick: Thank you.