Don't Buy an Annuity Until You Read ThisDec 13, 2022
So...I did it again! I got into another fight on social media. I really hate when I do it, but there are some things that I just can't let go.
Actually, there is only one thing that gets my blood boiling enough to have a public fight - and that is misleading people about finance.
In this case, it was an ad about "annuities." I put it in quotes because I think annuities are great tools. However, they are not a cure-all. In this case, I came across this ad that was promoting annuities as the way that "rich" people accumulate wealth.
Let's stop here for a second.
As people who read my ramblings, I am sure you are educated enough to spot this as an outright lie. However, when a "non-profit"-looking organization posts a long article about the secrets of wealth, people are going to read it. If that information is misleading or a downright lie and harmful to the public, I feel a duty to fight the misinformation.
It's why I send out these emails, and post these blogs, It is why I pay thousands of dollars for my content to be seen. I truly believe that it’s my responsibly to educate people, so they can make smarter financial decisions and build the life of their dreams.
See, the truth is that every product and instrument is valuable, it is just a question of for whom and when it is appropriate. You don't send cops to fight a fire, and you don't send fire fighters to solve a robbery. Both individuals are extremely valuable and help make this world a better place for all of us - and at some point we may need to call upon their services. However, it is important that you use the appropriate tool for the job. Otherwise, we will end up with something that is subpar, or a downright disaster.
Folks, there's a lot of noise and salespeople out there, convinced that their hammer is the perfect solution for your nail (problem). Now, in an ideal world, our "financial advisors" our "insurance agents" and other people we turn to for advice - would be educated in the full spectrum of financial tools. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
It is important to do your due diligence and really understand the solutions your financial advisor is pushing on you. Is this product or service really what's best for you, or are they simply selling what they know?
Or worse, what product gives them the highest commission?
Are they even capable of selling you a different product?
Different products require different licenses to sell, even among products of the same class, advisors will have varying access. Some can only sell the "proprietary" products of their agency; others may have broader access. Almost nobody has full access to the entire investment world. They may not have relationships with the investment managers, or they may not even be aware that certain types of products exist.
For instance, one of the reasons insurance agents believe that annuities are the best product in the world is because they give you the ability to participate in the growth of the market, without the potential downturns. Of course, even this statement is misleading.
Most annuities and insurance products generally don't "invest" in the market, what they have are "crediting" strategies that can be tied to the market; kind of like your credit card where your interest rate is tied to the Adjusted "Prime Rate." And just like your credit card, the key word is "adjusted."
Every contract sold by an insurance carrier will have different terms and definitions of how that crediting will be calculated and, most importantly, how that will translate into actual dollars in your pocket.
The good news is that because it is a contract, it is the ONLY standardized contract available (that I know of) which will provide "guaranteed" lifetime income. I put “guaranteed” in quotes, because nothing is certain in life, and there are a lot of assumptions going into that word. Although “income” annuities have lagged in popularity lately and carriers have cut back rates, reducing their attractiveness.
So, next time you are confronted by someone who is adamant that they have the "BEST" solution to your problems. Or they have a "cure-all" for all your financial woes. Ask yourself the following:
- Do I understand what I am buying.
- Will this help me accomplish my goals.
- If everything goes perfectly, what will I gain?
- If everything goes horribly wrong, worst-case, what will I lose?
- What is my probability of success?
- Is the risk/reward worthwhile?
- Will this decision keep me up at night? Does this promote my financial freedom or hurt it?
When it comes to annuities, insurance policies, investments or even going out to dinner with friends, the answers to these questions will help you make smarter financial decisions.
The deeper and more intelligently you can answer these questions, the greater your chances of success.
Remember, finance is simple - people make it complicated.
To your success,
P.S. The process I outline in this email, I call the "5-minute Financial Plan." You can read more about it in Chapter 4 of my book Living with Financial Anxiety.
P.P.S. If you are interested in investments that have similar properties to annuities (growth with downside protection) Schedule 15-minutes on my calendar and I will be more than happy to walk you through the world of alternative options.
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