Good advisors provide insights that have a positive effect on their clients’ financial paths. Smart advisors know they can help clients reach their financial goals.
Some advisors think fixed annuity sales aren’t a good fit for clients who have more than 20 years remaining before retirement. Advisors also may think annuities are hard to sell and to administer. Both of these assumptions are false. Annuities can help clients invest in the future and provide peace of mind as retirement nears. Perhaps annuities are right for your client base. And the target market for purchasing annuities is younger than you might think. So here are five common myths debunked.
Myth No. 1: Annuities are only for retirees.
Debunked: One truth in this myth is that annuities are a practical option for fiscally conservative baby boomers. The guaranteed stream of income that annuities can provide is certainly a comfort to someone who is transitioning out of – or has recently left – the workforce.
Although baby boomers may still be an advisor’s bread and butter, it’s time to start thinking about younger, more affluent consumers as a secondary selling stream. According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup and the Committee of Annuity Insurers, nonqualified annuity owners are, on average, 51 years old at the time of first purchase. Even more surprising, nearly 40 percent of these purchasers were under age 50 at the time they purchased their annuities, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI).
Half of all annuity purchasers were under the age of 60, according to a LIMRA SRI study published in 2012. This presents a huge window of opportunity for annuity sales.
These younger consumers saw their parents’ retirement incomes take a hit during the recent recession. As a result, younger prospects are now looking at fixed annuities as a viable part of their own retirement planning mix. Many younger purchasers have come to the conclusion that risk tolerance in a retirement portfolio may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Myth No. 2: My clients don’t have enough extra income to put into an annuity.
Debunked: Some advisors may not consider even discussing the subject of annuities with certain clients. Advisors mistakenly think that, with funds tied up in other investment vehicles such as 401(k)s, clients wouldn’t be interested in adding additional vehicles to their investment portfolios.
However, the reality is that clients are looking for a mix of investment options in their portfolios. According to the Gallup and Committee of Annuity Insurers survey, 80 percent of annuity purchasers have total annual household incomes under $100,000. These middle-market clients are considering annuities to be a conservative place to keep retirement funds and, therefore, a valuable portfolio component that helps ensure they’re on the path to meeting their retirement goals. Middle-market clients also may be open to considering an annuity purchase after they know about the continuous post-retirement income stream that fixed annuities can provide.
Myth No. 3: Annuities aren’t attractive to clients who want higher interest rates.
Debunked: Even with today’s low interest rates, a fixed annuity’s compound growth and tax-deferral status can grow retirement savings faster than a purchaser might think. If a client puts $50,000 into a five-year guaranteed annuity paying 2 percent interest, he or she would be guaranteed $55,204 at the end of five years – provided there are no early withdrawals.
What if a client isn’t ready to jump in and wants to wait a year? That same $50,000 would have to earn 2.51 percent interest annually for four years to catch up to an annuity purchased now. Waiting two years means having to earn 3.36 percent interest over three years to earn the same amount.
Myth No. 4: Clients choose the stock market over annuities.
Debunked: Even though the stock market has improved, some investors are still gun-shy. Investors nearing retirement learned about market volatility the hard way, leading to a lower risk tolerance. Due to increased life expectancies, most baby boomers will live longer than their parents. This means they need more money for more time.
It’s important to listen to clients and be able to identify customers who would benefit most from an annuity. It’s as easy as focusing on what purchasers want from their investments – protecting money and funding them for their retirement years.
Myth No. 5: A fixed annuity makes it difficult to control how money is distributed.
Debunked: Consider an annuity carrier that offers restrictive endorsements. This allows the annuity owner to decide how the proceeds are disbursed. It also can take the decision-making process out of the hands of a beneficiary who might not be ready for the responsibility.
Fixed annuities provide another option for clients who are already planning for retirement. With annuity purchasers getting younger and, in some cases, more affluent at a younger age, it’s important to be armed with accurate information that can help smart advisors distinguish themselves from good ones.