People ask me why I am passionate about annuities and retirement savings for Main Street Americans. I only have to look to my grandparents to answer the question.
My grandparents were teachers. They attended prestigious universities–Pembroke (now Brown University) and Rhode Island School of Design. My grandmother, who began her teaching career in the mid-1920s, was a pioneer in her field–continuing to teach after marriage and the birth of her children which was not normally allowed by schools at the time. An active person, she served many years on the local school board and was Secretary of the Rhode Island Baptist Convention while continuing to teach high school English and raising three children. She wrote poetry during the Depression, earning extra money penning verses for use on greeting cards. A brilliant person with a photographic memory, she read books turning each page after only a second–and then reciting word for word what she just read.
My grandfather was one of the first ham radio operators in the state of Rhode Island. During hurricanes and other emergencies, he would broadcast on his radio connecting those in need with help. He taught me Morse Code. His carpentry skills were well known, and he owned more tools than most hardware stores. When he died, he was the longest operating ham radio operator in the state.
My grandparents led a simple life–building their own home, raising chickens during the Depression to supplement their income selling eggs to the local grocer, and rarely splurged on any luxuries. Only in my parents’ wedding picture did I ever see my grandmother in a hat, gloves, and store bought clothes.
Bills were paid in person and in cash by my grandmother who managed the family finances. When she passed away at the age of 72, my grandfather did not know how to write a check or manage bills. For the final ten years of his life, my father managed his finances.
Understanding their own financial limitations, my grandparents prudently provided for retirement by saving in a fixed annuity. When they began taking distributions from the annuity in their mid-sixties, my grandmother chose the joint and survivor option payment feature. This meant that at her death, my grandfather continued receiving the income needed for his living expenses. He died suddenly at the age of 82 in his own home, still broadcasting nearly every day on his radio.
My passion for annuities and retirement savings for Main Street Americans began with my grandparents. They lived a rural and simple life. They were not sophisticated financial investors. But they made the right retirement savings choice for them, and because of that they received the income they needed to live independently in their later years.
Some retirement savings experts overlook the value of fixed and fixed indexed annuities and recommend diversifying assets into mutual funds. This is not the right path to a secure retirement future for everyone. Some people like the easier predictable choice–the guaranteed* choice of fixed annuities and that is OK.
*Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.
Because they are meant for long-term accumulation, most annuities have surrender charges that are assessed during the early years of the contract if the contract owner surrenders the annuity. In addition, withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may be subject to a 10% Federal Tax Penalty.
Mutual funds can be offered solely by representatives registered to offer such products through a broker/dealer by way of prospectus.