Annuities

Guaranteed Income and Success


Annuities

Over the past four and a half years, my firm has been working on a software tool to help Americans think and act differently in preparation for retirement. JourneyGuide  helps identify how a client will meet their spending needs on an after-tax, after-inflation basis. It’s fast, accurate, and it allows you to work with your client not just for your client. 

 

Important findings have been coming out of the software for some time. I find the most important aspect revolves around guaranteed income and the positive effects it has on the portfolio. 

 

Earlier this year, we released a study on Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs) which proves they improve the probability of success in retirement portfolios.1 After a QLAC was added, many of the scenarios we tested increased to more than 90 percent probability of having $1 in the portfolio at age 95. What surprised me the most was that the largest improvements were for younger ages (ages 55-60) and more conservative clients. We often think of the traditional income annuity buyer as being 65-plus. This study clearly shows that placing an annuity with younger ages is beneficial. 

 

Any Guaranteed Income is Good

However, it’s not just deferred (QLAC) or immediate income annuities that improve outcomes. The power of guaranteed income is demonstrated case after case. The ability to provide income that the client will always receive is a powerful story. Purchasing the income and allowing the rest of the portfolio to generate less accomplishes two things:

  • It takes pressure of the portfolio to sustain a high withdrawal strategy 
  • It allows the portfolio to be invested with a long-term focus instead of short-term gains for income

 

These findings work regardless of income now or income later. The ability to take pressure off the portfolio allows the client to invest longer term, which might provide additional tax relief in the form of long-term capital gains versus ordinary income. Guaranteed income can be found in Social Security, defined benefit income payments or commercially purchased annuities. Those are the only vehicles that support mortality credits and provide income for as long as the client lives. 

 

Winning Strategy

Go to www.journeyguideplanning.com and request your free demonstration of JourneyGuide. I think you will find the tool can change how your clients think and act in retirement. 

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. You can get his latest book, “Winning Strategies: The New Rules of Retirement Planning,” on Amazon.

 

1Ash Brokerage, “QLACS Improve Probability of Retirement Success,” 2018: https://goo.gl/Vw9Htz

QLAC Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts Guaranteed Income Retirement Planning Annuities

How Guaranteed Income Drastically Changes Retirement Distribution


Annuities

As I’m writing this (January 2018), it’s hard to think about safety in a portfolio. The equity markets continue to rage with double-digit growth for the past several years. There seems to be a new stock market high just about every week, if not every day. 

 

But accumulation and income are two different animals. So they require two unique approaches to solve the client’s problem. 

 

Accumulation

Take a look at systematic contributions to a qualified plan like a 401(k) plan or a nonqualified systematic investment plan. As you’re making ongoing contributions, you buy more shares of the investment when the market (or, specifically, the investment) is down. As the value of the investment increases, you have purchased more shares and gain exponential value. The math phenomenon is called dollar cost averaging (DCA). By being disciplined and consistent, your average cost per share is less than the average paid per share, due to your ability to buy more when the investment is down.

 

Distribution

If you are relying on systematic withdrawals during retirement, the opposite math phenomenon works against you. As you withdraw funds for income, you are liquidating more shares when the market corrects. Therefore, you lose more shares for when the market recovers. It multiplies your losses in a way. After the correction and recovery, you will have less units or shares than you would have with a steady market. 

 

Guaranteed Income

Guaranteed income options provide stability in retirement income planning. Having a protected baseline of income reduces the pressure the portfolio might otherwise take on during the distribution phase. With guaranteed income, there is no need to reduce your unit holdings in order to generate the same level of income; thus, you have a better chance of protecting your assets for the long haul. The less you have to take out in a down market keeps more of the shares, or units, in assets under management for growth, inflation protection and capital gains treatment. There is nothing worse than paying tax on a liquidation that has corrected but still has embedded gains. 

 

Take a look at using a guaranteed income tool to provide a floor for distribution planning. You client benefits not only from the peace of mind, but also the ability to make their assets last longer during retirement. 

 

Winning Strategy

Give guaranteed income options a look. By shifting the downside distribution risk to a guaranteed stream of income, the client can likely maintain their asset base longer in retirement. 

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”

Accumulation Distribution Guaranteed Income Retirement Planning

How You Can Find Safety in Guaranteed Income


Annuities

Our headquarters is at the heart of Fort Wayne, Indiana, a city that was severely hurt by the downturn of the automobile and manufacturing sectors. But today, it’s seeing a resurgence, especially downtown. Our building, the Ash Skyline Plaza, is about 18 months old, and 15-story complex, Skyline Tower, is being built adjacent to us – just across the rooftop park. 

 

I can see all the construction activity from my office – many times, I have to turn and look away so I can concentrate. There’s nothing like a portable toilet flying up on a crane to make you lose your train of thought. 

 

But, I admire those workers. They’re on site before I arrive and still there long after I leave, even on the weekends. It’s tough work, for sure. And, it’s dangerous, plain and simple. But the crew members all wear safety harnesses, hard hats and boots to protect themselves. It’s part of their everyday habits. 

 

That makes me think … 

 

What safety habits are you instilling in your clients?

 

As they build their portfolios and retirement income, your clients are taking risks. Many of those risks are associated with longevity or outliving their income: 

  • Market returns
  • Sequence of returns
  • Inflation
  • Long-term care events
  • Legacy planning constraints 
  • Taxes

 

Regardless of what happens with all those risks, the safety harness is income. As long as a client has income, they will likely feel more comfortable, regardless of what risks arise. Now, those risks still have to be addressed. But, if your client can feel confident that their income is secure from market drops and inflation, you have a good chance at addressing the other risks. 

 

We have to instill safe habits when it comes to retirement income planning. Nearly everyone can benefit from having guaranteed income as part of their retirement plan. Whether it’s from defined benefit plans, Social Security or insurance company annuities, guaranteed income shifts the risks of longevity. However, only one of those sources has embedded inflation protection, so you must address inflation with your client. Income serves as a great safety harness for those taking investment risks. 

 

Winning Strategy

Focus on the risks that longevity creates for your clients. If you address their fears and concerns, you are likely to win a client for life, as well as many quality referrals. 

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”

Retirement Guaranteed Income Longevity

Why Your Clients Really Care About Guaranteed Income


Annuities

Recently, our division sponsored Wendy Boglioli as a speaker for one of our partner firms. I always enjoy being around Wendy. She is an Olympic champion swimmer, a long-term care advocate and a genuine professional. If you need a great, motivating speaker, I highly encourage you to consider Wendy.

 

During the event, Wendy spoke about how her swim coaches prepared her team for races. They were ready for anything to go wrong. And, a lot of things can go wrong:

  • The starting block might be slippery and you can get off the block awkwardly
  • Your goggles can fill up with water
  • You can be off a few inches on your turn at the wall
  • You can miss a breath due to the waves in the water 

 

The list goes on ... The same goes for financial planning. You have to plan for the unexpected. 

 

Personal Case Study

Guaranteed income creates a safety net for many unexpected events and economic conditions. I offer my own parents as an example. 

 

Over the last four decades, my parents have endured several cardiac events. Medical advances since my father’s first heart attack have lengthened his life expectancy, but possibly at the risk of the quality of his last years. Guaranteed income sources have allowed them to establish reserve funds for their escalating care need. 

 

I don’t think my parents thought my dad would live to age 88 when he retired before the age of 62. Dad’s company helped him bridge the gap between his retirement date and early Social Security income. Additionally, both my parents had pension plans they use to receive regular, guaranteed income. They wrap their government and pension payments with selected annuity payments from annuities purchased decades ago. Finally, they have a portion invested in equities and bonds to provide growth. But, Dad has received multiples of the cash balance in his pension plan with no care in the world about its rate of return or upside potential. 

 

That’s why annuities and guaranteed income are so important to Americans today. The use of mortality credits in annuities provides guaranteed income without concern for rates, market corrections and managing assets. 

 

Through the years, my mom and dad have been able to travel the world, manage their medical expenses and create a healthy standard of living. While their health care is largely an unknown in the future, the reality is that guaranteed income gives them an avenue for stability in a world filled with uncertainty. 

 

Winning Strategy

Take the time to look at how guaranteed income can fit into the portfolio for your next client. We find that 15-25 percent of a portfolio should generate guaranteed income to make it efficient. But, talk to your clients about what it will mean to them to be assured they have a consistent income regardless of portfolio performance. I think they will appreciate the value of guaranteed income.  

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”

Retirement Guaranteed Income Annuities