How the Pandemic Has Affected Retirement for 68 Million Americans


A recent survey commissioned by Edward Jones and conducted with the help of Gallup and Harris polls found that 68 million Americans said they have changed their retirement timing due to the 2020 global pandemic. That number is even more significant when you think about the number of households affected. About one in four households have had their retirement plans affected, requiring them rethink when they plan to turn on their Social Security benefits.  

In addition to Social Security, they also need to determine how early retirement will affect their ability to pay for health care. At an individual level, there is a greater need to shore up the potential reduction of Social Security than ever before. And have solutions that can help mitigate that concern for your clients.

Whenever meeting with a client to make changes to their financial plan, start by reevaluating some of the vehicles that were put in place 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe they have maxed out their income benefit. Or maybe there’s a better solution for their current needs. This is a great opportunity to determine the appropriateness of the current financial products.

And, once you’ve discussed how your clients’ goals have changed, and which products aren’t working anymore, you’re ready to discuss the future. JourneyGuide is a great way to do that. As I recently discussed, it offers a quick and accurate report of how to help your clients meet their goals. The JourneyGuide software can help you identify some of the gaps that has been caused by the global pandemic.

So have a conversation with your clients. Ask them:

  • How did this change their retirement income plan?
  • Do we need to reevaluate?
  • Do we need to accelerate income and close that gap up?
  • Do we need to create a better legacy?

With JourneyGuide, I can show you the proper amount of protected income needed to leverage the rest of the portfolio to generate more estate value for the beneficiaries. Which is a long way of saying it can actually help people retire earlier. And, more importantly, JourneyGuide can help close any type of retirement gaps that might have come up due to the global pandemic.

Call your retirement income consultant at (800) 589-3000 to learn more about JourneyGuide and Ash’s Annuity Audit services. Both will give you the information you need to allow your clients to understand the changes that are affecting their retirement income today.


Transformational Tactic

Helping your clients shift their financial plans to meet their current needs is possible with Ash Brokerage’s resources.

A Better Annuity Strategy than “Set It and Forget It”


Many of us have believed in asset allocation strategies –  that is, shifting money management to a third-party and talking to our clients about the long-term. Their money is put inside variable or fixed annuities, and you and your clients just let it sit. It’s a “set-it-and-forget-it” mentality, and in less-turbulent times, it was a popular strategy.  But the global pandemic that we are still living with has shifted a lot of needs. 

Many people have lost jobs and are retiring earlier. Even more importantly, because of the volatility we are living with, there’s an increased interest in protected income. Today in America, there are $416 billion held in fixed and indexed annuities issued by insurance carriers. Not all of those are liquid, certainly, but according to a Gallup poll, 81% of those that bought a fixed annuity said they did so because they did not want to be a burden to their family.

All of this leads to a couple of opportunities:

  1. Most fixed annuities have been on the books for a long time. They do not have income riders — but the need to have protected income is an important part of their portfolio. If you have not looked at an Income Alpha strategy for these clients, I would encourage you to do so. A certain amount of protected income can actually leverage the portfolio to a greater probability of retirement success, a claim we have the numbers to back up. And, going back to the reason people buy annuities, it’s because they don’t want to become a burden to their families. Protected income is the best way of ensuring this doesn’t happen. It’s important to talk to your clients about using the asset appropriately.
  2. Under the Pension Protection Act, you can shift that tax-deferred asset with a 1035 exchange. If you use that asset for two of the six ADLs, then not only is your cost basis your gain, but also the explosion of market value of an LTC event are all received tax-free. So, you have shifted tax-deferred to tax-free. When you think about the increase in tax rates that are likely to happen over the next three to five years, I believe that your clients will be very receptive.

In total, there are more than $1.3 trillion of total annuities sitting on insurance carriers’ books right now. Think about that for a minute. Are your clients’ annuities performing like you thought that they would? Have those benefits been maxed out over the 10-year period available with an income rider? Can you increase income a little by looking at alternatives? Would a different vehicle preserve their assets better?

Add value to your clients by making a full evaluation of their annuity products. Our Annuity Audit service, backed by Morningstar Intelligence, is available to help. I encourage you to reach out to our team to learn more. We’ll work up a complete analysis and provide you with clear information to share with your client. Together, you can make an intelligent decision as to whether their current product is performing well or if there are changes to be made. And if there are, reach out to our retirement income consultants at (800) 589-3000 for more information.


Transformational Tactic

There are opportunities to increase your business by evaluating current annuities. You’ll improve your clients’ portfolios without reducing assets under management.

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Increase Your Annuity Sales (and Create Confidence in Your Clients)


It’s a challenging time. Your clients need guidance to help protect and secure their retirement. It’s not an easy task, especially when we have ongoing social and political unrest here in the United States, not to mention an ongoing and relentless pandemic. Today’s environment makes it even more important to validate your services and create confidence in your clients when you’re talking about their income planning strategies.

When you help a client create a plan, you’re looking ahead to the rest of their life. We have a resource that cuts through all the uncertainty and shows your clients how their retirement would perform in different circumstances. Given various market conditions, it takes inflation and taxes into consideration. Even more important, you and your client can complete it in about 15 minutes. And the result is a client-approved report that you can present with confidence to the client’s loved ones.

JourneyGuide is a dynamic, client-approved resource and is hands down the best software for selling annuities. Advisers who have incorporated JourneyGuide into their businesses have seen an average of 62% increase in annuity sales. A lot of that increase has come from assets held away.

It might be easier to look at an example of how they incorporate JourneyGuide into their day-to-day conversations. Take a client, age 60, preparing to retire in seven years. Currently, the client has a traditional 60-40 asset mix. By adding a fixed indexed annuity to the portfolio, you will be able to increase the income amount and offer income guarantees. You would also be able to add guaranteed income and decrease portfolio risk. It makes sense to revisit the client’s portfolio mix based on their risk tolerance and to possibly further the income potential. JourneyGuide shows you how to make changes to increase your clients’ security.

You can show that client how much that they will be able to spend, given any market condition, because we run 5,000 market simulations in our Monte Carlo simulation to ensure that the client has confidence in their plan. Call us today at (800) 589-3000 or download a sample report to see how you can give your clients the confidence they need in retirement and increase your annuity sales. Your peers are doing it, and you can too.


Transformational Tactic

With the right resources, it is possible to develop a more secure retirement for your clients while increasing your annuity sales. Learn how to help project possible scenarios in as little as 10 minutes.

Why A Clear Message is a Must


Over the past year, I’ve talked about the importance of marketing, and why you need a clear and concise message if you want to attract new customers. I’ve talked about automating your efforts, maintaining a digital presence, and remaining relevant as our population shifts from the workforce to retirement. And I talked a lot about the need for financial advisors as the ratio of the number of advisors to clients continues to grow These actions are even more important now, during unsettling times, than ever.

You don’t need me to tell you we have a lot of uncertainty in the world today. We are experiencing political and social unrest, as well as financial instability, especially when it comes to the retirement income planning spectrum. To increase your clients’ confidence, you need to address the topics that matter to them.

Right now, two of those topics are Social Security changes and taxes. Speaking clearly on both of these topics will help clients see your value and increase their trust in you. And help new prospects want to work with you.

Social Security

We’ve been hearing a lot about the coming changes to Social Security. The pandemic has most likely accelerated these changes, and they are now projected to occur between 2028 and 2031, depending on which expert you listen to.

Surprisingly, more than 400,000 people will actually benefit from the reduction timeframe of Social Security. The reality is that 12.4% will fund an increase in benefits to those recipients that are under the poverty level. They will also help offset the impact of a change in the CPU index that is being used. Currently, it doesn’t help us at all with the upcoming Social Security reduction. Our challenge is to help our clients shift that particular risk. 

And that’s your message. Make it clear to your clients and prospects that you understand the Social Security changes and that you are ready to work with them to reduce that risk.

Tax Increase

The next topic to be ready to discuss is taxes. The government cannot pay nearly $5 trillion of stimulus money without requiring an offsetting increase in revenue. What is up for debate is how that all plays out. Who gets the tax bill? And who bears the burden? Regardless of the answer to that question, we need to concentrate on ways to create a more tax-efficient retirement income. How can we help our clients grow assets in a more tax-deferred manner that speaks well to a lot of different annuities?

Your message to your clients regarding taxes is the importance of planning for them. You can help them be prepared for different possible scenarios.

Although both existing clients and prospects are interested in the same topics, how you talk to them will differ. It’s hard work to attract quality leads to your business and still stay in contact with your existing clients.

We must change our techniques and our behaviors. To start, though, we need to change our attitudes about how we market ourselves. If you want to cut through the noise, you need to start with a clear message and a digital presence. We can help you with all of that.


Transformational Tactic

By implementing new strategies for marketing and creating a clear and concise message, you’ll be able to attract new clients and grow your business. It starts with changing the way you think about marketing.