Annuities

Why Your Digital Assets Will Outlast Your Retirement


Annuities

In the insurance industry, we spend a lot of time working to make sure that our clients don’t run out of money in retirement. We talk with our clients about their assets. Then we plan around them.

But longevity creates other assets that aren't always part of the planning process – digital assets. The longer we live, the larger the digital footprint we leave behind.

It’s both an asset and a risk – and few planners are talking about this risk with their clients.

I recently attended the Society of Financial Service Professionals 2019 FSP Institute. During the conference, an attorney specializing in digital assets talked about common issues with estate planning. Digital assets, he said, usually aren’t properly valued on balance sheets. They’re hard to value because there isn’t really a market.

But digital assets can be monetized if we help our clients think that way. Americans are living longer, and investing patterns are changing. Today’s technologies should be encouraging us to think differently.

First, there are digital assets with tangible value, like cryptocurrency, where individuals assume the risk of safeguarding those assets. One individual lost almost $60 million in assets because their cryptocurrency could not be liquidated in a timely fashion. A little risk mitigation would have gone a long way.

Beyond that, we often hear stories of deceased authors and musicians with memoirs or other works on their computers, locked forever because nobody has their password. What great ideas, what contributions to literature and the arts might never see the light of day? Or even personal memories – photos, videos and documents from a life well-lived. More than ever, this is the legacy individuals want to leave for the next generation.

The insurance industry needs to test the risks and rewards of managing a client’s digital assets. If they haven't already, your clients’ power of attorney or executor should have access to their social media and online financial accounts. Your client will need to give explicit authorization and direction to that person what to do with those accounts if the worst happens. Estate planning documents need to reflect the new world of technology and our reliance on it.

Retirement income planning is more than just a systematic withdrawal. It engulfs the need to have guaranteed income to mitigate longevity. But, it also requires us to look at other risks – health care, long term care, taxes, legacy planning, and now digital assets.

 

Winning Strategy

Consider adding digital assets to your financial planning and retirement discussions. Digital assets will last longer than any of us and our money. Plan to make sure they are controlled and disposed of properly.


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. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now – learn more at www.freethrowsforpros.com.

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How to Double Your Clients and Double Your Business


Annuities

Everyone always asks my sales team if we support marketing initiatives like seminars, client events and mailing lists. We do in certain situations, but I’ve found those tactics to have limited upside and they are costly, even with sponsorship. 

 

To be honest, I think there’s a more effective way to grow your business – by capturing the next generation of your current clients. 

 

According to LIMRA, there are more than $489 billion of in-force annuity assets on the books of insurance carriers. These policies are not being annuitized for income and largely not being used for income rider usage. Many have accumulated for years and contain built-up gains that will be taxed at the beneficiary’s ordinary tax rate. We call that the ticking tax bomb. 

 

Defuse the Situation

You could wait for the IRS to strike as soon as your client is gone. Or you could take action to help their beneficiaries before it’s too late. 

 

One solution is to turn on tax-advantaged income for your clients who own these “untapped” annuities. The income stream is small and includes a return of basis, making part of their payment tax-free. When your client dies, the remaining cost basis may be stripped from the annuity in a lump sum or through payments. This allows their beneficiaries immediate access to tax-free cash. 

 

The remaining inheritance can be stretched over a beneficiary’s lifetime, which reduces the affect of taxation. Otherwise, a beneficiary would have to claim 100 percent of the remaining gain in the year of receipt or over five years from the date of the annuitant’s death. 

 

By putting the IRS in the back of the line, you will gain trust with your next generation of clients. This is a great way to grow your business. I encourage you to not only conduct regular reviews of your clients’ beneficiary designations, but also look at planning for the beneficiary’s inheritance. How they receive the money is equally important as the dollar amount. 

 

Winning Strategy

Double your business by doubling your clients through annuity reviews. If you look at how the distribution will affect the beneficiary and add value to their distribution, you will gain their trust and earn their business.

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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.

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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

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Why Fee-Only Isn’t Always the Best Interest


Annuities

Recently, several industry publications have looked at the distribution of fee-based products. These are annuity products with no commission. In theory, the design allows a fee-only planner to place products while adhering to their business model, charging an advisory fee for all assets under management. I caution advisors – and consumers alike – to be weary of the false promises around fee-only product development. 

 

While I remain a huge proponent of consumer value, the distribution of these products remains in its infancy, with many faults in the initial distribution strategies. Recently, we have seen firms that offer a subscription-like service for those fee-only planners. The pricing is based on the planner’s assets under management and provides access to a suite of annuities with no commission earned on the amount purchased. 

 

Two things are most concerning:

  • The structure. What’s not fully disclosed or understood is how much money the subscription firms are receiving from the carriers in order to have the products on their platform. Like any distributor, the firms focusing on those fee-only advisors earn an allowance based on the amount of the annuity purchased … similar to a commission. So these firms earn revenue twice – by charging the planners and taking a portion of the sales from the carriers. 

 

  • The impact on the end-client. The net client value is suspect, at best. We ran a quote for a fee-only product and compared it to a commissioned-based product. On a $100,000 single-premium immediate annuity for a 65-year-old male with a life-only payout, the increase in income was $21 per month. On a $500 monthly income that is a sizable increase, to be clear. However, net of the 1 percent fee that the advisor will charge, the client loses $748 annually.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. I think the value of guaranteed income is extremely important. However, clients must be aware that the net benefit must be an increase in their net income above fees and expenses. In many cases, it seems to be in the best interest of the client to take the annuity purchased out of a fee-only or assets-under-management model and purchase a fully commissionable product. The net growth in income would be higher versus sticking to a rigid, fee-only business model. 

 

Winning Strategy

Look at the value of both fee-based and commission-based product selections. Don’t be locked into your business model so much that it hurts your client. 

 

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.

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The Secret to Increasing Your Compensation


Annuities

Many of you may be uncomfortable talking about your compensation with clients. That’s fair. Up until now, you haven’t had to do that. But the market is shifting toward more transparency and commoditization. Consumers want more for less. 

 

If you want to simply remain relevant in this business, you have to add value. Beyond that, if you want to increase your compensation, you have to increase the number of people you serve. That’s the secret. 

 

Law of Compensation

In Bob Burg’s book, “The Go-Giver,” the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success are laid out through a story about a sales person who is focused on taking instead of giving. He expects people to buy from him because of his quota.

 

Too often, we think of driving our compensation through earning more from every client or transaction. That’s another way of taking vs. giving. Instead, you need to focus on how many people you can serve. The Law of Compensation states that your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. So, let’s concentrate on increasing the number of people we serve. 

 

Access to More Clients

One way to uncover more prospective clients is to meet people in a larger group setting. You might immediately think of hosting seminars. However, seminars are expensive and time-consuming, and they don’t necessarily create influence or interest. 

 

We’ve been helping advisors find groups of prospective clients another way – through pension risk transfers. In these situations, you can not only provide assistance to a business, but you could also gain access to all the employees. Wouldn’t we all like to be introduced to hundreds of people at the request of their employer? You’re using the business’s influence to serve more people.

 

A typical transfer includes a period where employees may elect to take a lump sum and roll over their retirement savings. You can provide valuable information to help them make those decisions and win them as clients. By doing so, you have successfully followed the Law of Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. 

 

Winning Strategy

Don’t concentrate on how much you earn by each transaction. Focus on how you can help more people. Increase your value proposition and the number of people you serve, and I’m confident you’ll see results.

 

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.

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