Displaying items by tag: variable annuities
Many people who are thinking about annuities don’t realize that many of them are sellable products—they don’t necessarily have to be held forever (even if that is often the best strategy). So which annuities are sellable and which aren’t? In general, SPIAs (single premium immediate annuities), DIAs (deferred income annuities), and QLACs (qualified longevity annuity contracts) are not sellable; VAs (variable annuities), FIAs (fixed index annuities), and MYGA (multi-year guarantee annuities) are usually sellable. Each of those latter products have surrender charge time periods in them, so it may cost something, but it does mean money is not locked in them forever.
FINSUM: Since selling would usually not be the best idea, this is more of a peace of mind factor than anything else, in our opinion.
Variable annuities can be a fantastic product for long-term income security. However, they are complex products and buyers need to make sure they understand what they are buying. In particular, here are a few key points to remember when purchasing. Firstly, providers often have unique policies for how benefits are paid out once one spouse dies, so make sure these are understood to avoid accidentally disinheriting someone. Secondly, make sure clients understand the differences between the different value measurements of a variable annuity, such as cash-out value, death benefit, or “annuitized” value, as these can potentially cause some shocks. Finally, be careful when exchanging an older annuity for a new one, as older versions can be significantly more generous and are worth holding onto.
FINSUM: Variable annuities can be great long-term income streams, but it is integral to understand exactly what one is buying.
Variable annuities have been going through a difficult period recently. Fixed and fixed index annuities have been grabbing market share in the year since the DOL rule got canceled. However variable annuities just escaped an important new regulation. Massachusetts just implemented the first state fiduciary rule—which may become a template for liberal states all over the country. However, variable annuities have officially been categorized as insurance products, not securities, so do not fall under the purview of the best interest rule.
FINSUM: This is a major development for the variable annuities industry because there were a lot of fears the rule would consider them securities. It seems like the Massachusetts rule will become the standard template for state adoption all over the US, so this is a big victory.
A new report shows that fixed index annuities sales have been surging. FIAs saw sales jump 57% in 2019, and there appear to be two reasons why. Firstly, the defeat of the DOL’s fiduciary rule completely reopened the market to a product that had been in serious trouble in the period leading up to the rule. Additionally, due to de-risking, variable annuities have become less attractive, and more money has been moving into fixed index annuities, which also offer higher rates than fixed annuities. Generally speaking, “Broker-dealers have embraced the solution as products become more transparent and consumer-friendly”, says Cerulli Associates.
FINSUM: The whole sales process for FIAs has really cleaned up its act and the marketing materials and structures are more accessible now. We expect this market to keep rising.
Annuities are an important part of both advisors’ businesses and their clients’ portfolios. However, the options in the market can be overwhelming, especially if you are an advisor new to the asset class. The annuities business has cleaned up its act in the last few years and is finally getting some respect because of its ability to alleviate retirees’ worst fears—running out of money in retirement. Well, Barron’s has put out a list of the top 100 annuities in the market, including how to pick them. The list is quite extensive, so here is a link. The choices are broken down into numerous categories and include offerings from Lincoln National Life, Transamerica, Prudential, CUNA Mutual Group, and beyond.
FINSUM: Not only do annuities help alleviate the fear of running out of money for retirees, but they are also popular with Millennials, who are financially conservative and have a similar concern about future income.