Mike McGlothlin CFP®, CHFC®, CLU®, LUTCF®, NSSA®
Many of us have believed in asset allocation strategies – that is, shifting money management to a third-party and talking to our clients about the long-term. Their money is put inside variable or fixed annuities, and you and your clients just let it sit. It’s a “set-it-and-forget-it” mentality, and in less-turbulent times, it was a popular strategy. But the global pandemic that we are still living with has shifted a lot of needs.
Many people have lost jobs and are retiring earlier. Even more importantly, because of the volatility we are living with, there’s an increased interest in protected income. Today in America, there are $416 billion held in fixed and indexed annuities issued by insurance carriers. Not all of those are liquid, certainly, but according to a Gallup poll, 81% of those that bought a fixed annuity said they did so because they did not want to be a burden to their family.
All of this leads to a couple of opportunities:
- Most fixed annuities have been on the books for a long time. They do not have income riders — but the need to have protected income is an important part of their portfolio. If you have not looked at an Income Alpha strategy for these clients, I would encourage you to do so. A certain amount of protected income can actually leverage the portfolio to a greater probability of retirement success, a claim we have the numbers to back up. And, going back to the reason people buy annuities, it’s because they don’t want to become a burden to their families. Protected income is the best way of ensuring this doesn’t happen. It’s important to talk to your clients about using the asset appropriately.
- Under the Pension Protection Act, you can shift that tax-deferred asset with a 1035 exchange. If you use that asset for two of the six ADLs, then not only is your cost basis your gain, but also the explosion of market value of an LTC event are all received tax-free. So, you have shifted tax-deferred to tax-free. When you think about the increase in tax rates that are likely to happen over the next three to five years, I believe that your clients will be very receptive.
In total, there are more than $1.3 trillion of total annuities sitting on insurance carriers’ books right now. Think about that for a minute. Are your clients’ annuities performing like you thought that they would? Have those benefits been maxed out over the 10-year period available with an income rider? Can you increase income a little by looking at alternatives? Would a different vehicle preserve their assets better?
Add value to your clients by making a full evaluation of their annuity products. Our Annuity Audit service, backed by Morningstar Intelligence, is available to help. I encourage you to reach out to our team to learn more. We’ll work up a complete analysis and provide you with clear information to share with your client. Together, you can make an intelligent decision as to whether their current product is performing well or if there are changes to be made. And if there are, reach out to our retirement income consultants at (800) 589-3000 for more information.
There are opportunities to increase your business by evaluating current annuities. You’ll improve your clients’ portfolios without reducing assets under management.