Today's advisors continue to be bombarded with negative headlines about fixed income solutions. The media harps on the low interest rate environment to the point that advisors and clients fear making a mistake on timing, resulting in lost opportunity. Reality is, standing on the sidelines is the true lost opportunity.
What needs to happen for the industry to grasp that we are closer to normal long-term interest rates than we are to low ones? The historical average during the entire 20th century was 4.9 percent. Looking at the past 50 years, the average on the first 25 years was 3.3 percent, and it rifled upward during the late ’70s and early ’80s. The average for the second half of the period averaged only 6.7 percent – double the average in a period that included 15 percent interest and inflation rates. Today, long bonds have yields around 3.5 percent. Clearly, we are closer to normal than many would like us to believe.
It's time to reset expectations. Today's interest rates remain in line with the amount of risk taken. For clients who want zero risk, fixed annuities and fixed indexed annuities are a great alternative. And, in the unlikely event of skyrocketing rates in the next year, annuities provide a shelter for price depreciation. Let's have meaningful conversations with our clients about the virtue of annuities in our "new normal."
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