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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Why Annuities Are Sold, Why Annuities Are Important


Why Annuities Are Sold, Why Annuities Are Important


It’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the benefit of annuities.

Contrary to recent articles from media outlets, annuities can be a valuable tool in a portfolio. Too often, the product gets bad press and people jump on the bandwagon. For the last two decades, our industry has been focused on recurring revenue and assets under management. That served our businesses and our clients well during the accumulation phase. But the game has changed.

Tax-deferred growth is a large benefit for any non-qualified assets – especially if they are generating long-term retirement income. Assets will grow and accumulate faster using a tax-deferred vehicle. One could argue that the lump-sum tax at the end of the accumulation period would be hefty. That’s true, but it’s not the best use of an income-generating vehicle like an annuity. Annuities allow for control of the tax disbursement, which avoids a lump sum distribution at a capital gains tax rate.


Fees are always synonymous with annuities, regardless of whether they’re fixed or registered. Clearly, some annuities are fee-heavy, and I don’t disagree. But most aren’t - in fact, fixed indexed annuities offer the same or similar income riders as their variable counterparts. Rider charges are much less expensive due to the stability of the general account, versus the fluctuation of underlying sub accounts.

Using the Principal

Traditional SPIA and DIAs are making a comeback due to the retirement crisis. People need to generate higher levels of income, for longer periods of time, with less assets than previous generations. Using principal and interest to do that over a person’s lifetime – for both qualified and non-qualified assets – makes sense. Once guaranteed income is in place, the remaining portfolio can be invested more aggressively. Equities have historically outpaced inflation, so future losses in buying power can be offset.


Asset Location

We often get caught up on asset allocation models. Instead, we need to focus on asset location, which is the key to annuities adding a benefit inside a portfolio. The purpose of the asset is more critical than the class. If the asset is intended to generate retirement income, you need to consider at least a portion in guaranteed income.

For most Americans, the promise of ongoing income – guaranteed for life – makes annuities one of the most beneficial parts of their portfolio. Don’t take my word for it! The power of guaranteed income can be proven through our tool, JourneyGuide. I encourage anyone to take their typical middle-American client and evaluate the use of guaranteed income in a $1 million portfolio. You’ll find a $275,000-$325,000 difference in total income increases for mass affluent customers.


Winning Strategy: Look at the true benefits of annuities in the retirement income strategy and not the recent headlines.


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





retirement annuity time

2 Minutes to 4 Hours


We’ve either done it or seen it – the mad dash through the airport, desperate to reach the gate before it’s too late.


I was recently flying home from Kansas City, Missouri to Fort Wayne, Indiana. My connecting flight in Detroit was running late. It was a Friday afternoon and bad weather was causing delays. My layover was less than hour, and as we landed, my phone pinged – my flight to Fort Wayne had begun the boarding process five minutes earlier. And there I was, stuck at the back of the plane waiting on others to get off.


I began checking alternatives. I could get a rental car and drive home (invariably over three and a half hours after dealing with the rental company and afternoon traffic). There was a later flight that would get me in about the same time or a little later. Or, I could run like fury and hope I made it to the terminal in time.


I decided to chance it. I ran through two terminals in Detroit’s airport and made it to the gate as the agent was making the last muffled boarding call.


I’d made it – just – with two minutes to spare.


I found my seat on the plane, stowed my carry-on, got comfortable and began to relax, knowing I would be home much earlier than if I had missed this flight. I could breathe again. From the time the notification popped up on my phone until the time I sat down, I was rushed, worried, anxious and feeling a bit irked toward the airline.


It’s entirely likely that our clients feel the same way about our industry – frustrated, anxious, and making last-minute decisions on their retirement. They only relax when they have a plan and they know they are secure in their income for life.


Retirement is creating more anxiety for more Americans than ever before. There are huge uncertainties due to longevity, health care, taxes, legacy concerns and charitable tendencies. Retirement is a time when Americans should be enjoying the fruits of their labor, not worrying further. We can help alleviate that anxiety by doing some simple things for our clients:

  1. Make a plan, and make it early. Our research shows the purchase of guaranteed income as early as age 55 for later use increases the probability of success in retirement income plans.
  2. Understand the three sources of guaranteed income: Social Security, pensions, and annuities. These are the only vehicles that can shift the risk of longevity.
  3. Educate clients on the benefits of guaranteed income in the portfolio, regardless of source.
  4. Teach clients the value of Social Security and how to make smart decisions about benefits.
  5. Use technology to better improve client interface and build client base to reach underserved markets.


If we focus our attention on income during retirement, and not just asset allocation and return, we will have a better conversation with clients. Those conversations will be more meaningful and helpful to a greater number of people.


Winning Strategy: Don’t wait to plan for your clients’ retirement. Talk about income with them and educate them on how guaranteed income makes a difference in the portfolio.



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


retirement annuity time

Annuity Awareness


June is Annuity Awareness Month. While it’s tempting to focus on a particular product, I like to focus on client needs. There is a growing gap between retirement savings and potential income during retirement. In reviewing clients' finances, we frequently find that they fall anywhere from 15% to as much as 50% short in their chances of having income for their entire lifetime. That is scary for the industry – but it’s even scarier for the clients we serve.


I normally try to write at a high level about the industry, the changing role of financial advisors and the realities of today’s retirement landscape. I try to avoid talking about our team and our specific successes, but if you’ll indulge me for a moment, let me give a bit of a humble-brag on our team, our solutions and how we can help your clients retire securely.


Ash Brokerage knows annuities are important, which is why we continually invest in our retirement division. We offer a full platform for retirement income planning:



Our JourneyGuide software allows you to co-plan with your client and show them the effects of any decisions they make. It’s a great way for advisors to gain clients’ trust and show the overall value in retirement income planning. The added benefit is that you can be more efficient in your practice. We offer tools to help illustrate the value of FIAs over fixed interest products, and we can show how the insertion of an FIA can increase portfolio metrics.


Business Solutions

We have developed a broad small-business platform around retirement issues. Moving pension plans from plan sponsors to carriers reduces the costs to small business, making them more profitable and more desirable for succession planning. And, the transaction secures the income for those loyal workers. We assist businesses and their attorneys with plaintiff cases and workers’ compensation payouts in an efficient and effective manner. Recently, we have reinvested and added non-qualified business structures to our arsenal of business services. These structures allow the seller to defer income to meet their needs and control taxes along the way.



Knowledge is more important than ever before. Our team of wholesalers is now 20 strong, with collectively 500 years of experience in the field. Our internal desk will expand throughout 2019 to complement our growth. We also host regional meetings such as Retirement Income University, Go-Giver: The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success, and StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message.


Client Workshops

Gaining new clients is always important in building a successful business. Our turnkey seminar partnership with White Glove Workshops allows you to expand your client base with quality content and economical packaging for your target market. If you already run a successful seminar marketing strategy and just need content, we have over 15 slide decks with FINRA letters for your firm to review and use.


We have never been more bullish on retirement income education and the use of annuities. With the largest retirement demographic ever, and a gradual reduction in savings rates over the last two decades, financial planners have a challenge: create more income for longer periods of time with less assets than ever before. If we don’t reinvest in our businesses, our clients will lose – and not just lose us.


Winning Strategies: Join me in reinvesting in the retirement income industry and helping clients retire more securely.



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


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