Displaying items by tag: annuities
Covid-19’s continued crisis and the growing number of new strands have put lots of pressure on bond markets which has spiked an interest in annuities because there is no yield in fixed income. However, ETFs are looking to capitalize on annuities growing popularity because a defined outcome ETFs offer a lot of the same advantages as annuities. Buffer or defined outcome ETFs use options to track indices which means that by buying a series of put options and selling a series of call options they cap and floor their earnings which means a smooth stable ride that is an alternative to bond markets and annuities as an equity hedge. They also have an advantage over annuities because they don’t have the hefty upfront costs annuities usually have.
FINSUM: This is a great product to hedge the S&P but it isn’t the guaranteed income an annuity provides.
Annuities have been criticized for their lack of a national advertising campaign that could really rally interest, but that will change in 2022. A large number of retirees should give companies enough desire to boost their annuities exposure. In addition to this many of the fundamental changes in regulation such as the secure act are paving the way for annuities to be introduced in new ways. Finally, the stock market has performed better than anyone could expect coming out of the pandemic, and bonds provided now yield and little security. Investors will need to protect their gains and retirement and expect big companies to pitch to these investors more frequently.
FINSUM: Protecting existing stock gains is a great argument for individuals to consider annuities in 2022.
The Biden administration has put a number of new policies that are affecting annuities, and while some of them may be unintentional a number of companies may be moving to offshore havens to escape the pressure. Annuity issuers are being acquired by private companies and then becoming nomadic firms that are mainly housing themselves in Bermuda. The current Build Back Better act will affect annuity and insurance contracts with updates to the base erosion and anti-abuse tax. Additionally, many annuity issuers aren’t positive that the variety of retirement vehicles that are offering annuities might not be so great moving forward. Finally, low yields in are tricky for annuity issuers because they rely on traditionally high yield debt to finance the pseudo insurance contracts.
FINSUM: Annuities are one of the oldest financial contracts, it’s bizarre how much new regulation is being sprung on them in 2021.
Given their widespread popularity lawmakers have scrambled to put together a series of changes to a popular retirement product in the last year and it looks like more are coming. There appears to be bi-partisan support for the additions building on the 2019 Secure act which tried to increase retirement security. The House and Senate bills both include changes that would remove the maximum amount on the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract. Previously it was capped at the minimum of $135,000 or 25% of your retirement accounts. The Senate provision also bumps the minimum up to $200,000. The new provisions also include auto enrollment in 401(k) plans and a student loan exchange in existing 401(k) plans. The final piece to the provisions is an increase in catch-up contributions for existing 401(k) plans that could further bolster retirement savings.
FINSUM: One of the underappreciated aspects of the Biden administration is the expansion of savings vehicles for retirees across many income earners.
There is a growing interest among investors, particularly when it comes to retirement, in annuities. Nearly 4/5ths of investors have interest in annuities but as few as 10% of retirement plans offer them. Things are changing at fidelity however, as they are giving the opinions for a guaranteed income direct plan if your employers pick it up. And it seems more employers will be taking on annuities in part of their 401k coverage given the 2020 Secure Act which eased the legal burdens on companies when picking up annuity coverage. Additionally Fidelity is giving the option of naming a beneficiary to your annuity which will curb the biggest concern among investors.
FINSUM: Most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement and for those retiring sooner rather than later an annuity is a more secure bet given market turmoil.