Retirement Ready Income Programs

The Real Scoop on Annuities - Part Two

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The sales pitch emphasizes the prospect of gains in the market rather than the safety and security of the contract. Hundreds of insurance-annuity companies have rushed in to sell their Mutual Funds to unsuspecting retirees, in the form of a much-more-speculative-than-meets-the-eye retirement program. In it's zeal to claim its share of the investment dollar, the industry has rationalized away the risk of equity investments. Financial Planning computer models are programmed to include variable annuities in their asset allocations, shifting the retirement income risk to the consumer. And it's such an easy sell because what the customer hears is: a guaranteed retirement income plus stock market appreciation.

Unfortunately, the stock market never has been able to generate guaranteed levels of income, and sometimes fails to move higher just because we think it should. Serious problems occur when mutual funds are packaged with annuity contracts and the critical differences between them are either overlooked or undisclosed, perhaps innocently, perhaps not. The founding fathers of the annuity contract would not be pleased with today's glitzy versions. Let's back up a century and consider some basics. Just who needs an annuity anyway?

Keep in mind that the annuity produces the largest possible commissions for the salesperson and the largest potential penalties for the purchaser. The variable variety adds the commissions from the mutual funds to the package, and uncertainty to the income benefit. Here's how to determine if an annuity makes sense economically. Is it clear that there is no such thing as a guaranteed variable annuity? The key suitability numbers are easy to develop and to analyze.

The most important number in the equation is your personal expense estimate. How much income is needed at retirement? Always estimate conservatively (that means to use numbers higher than you really expect). If you need a calculator, you're making it too difficult. Let's pretend that the number you decide upon is $48,000, or $4,000 per month. Next, subtract the amount of any guaranteed income you expect to receive from all sources, including social security, pensions, etc. Do not include the value of your investments or properties you plan to sell in this calculation. Again, be conservative, keeping your estimate a bit lower than what you actually expect, and make sure you know why investment earnings should not be included. Let's say that this number works out to be $27,000.

That's it. Now all you have to do is to determine if the investment portfolio can safely generate the difference of $21,000 per year in income (dividends and interest only, please). For the purposes of this analysis, the current market value of the portfolio is used, so make sure that you include the value of everything that is marketable. At today's interest rates you could get the job done safely with under $300,000 but not with normal equity mutual funds or any form of Index Fund. It is totally irresponsible (actually, its worse than that) to rely on equities to provide retirement income. BUT, if the numbers are just short, and (a) a "windfall" (inheritance) is anticipated within a few years, or (b) the retiree is in poor health, an annuity is the last thing that should be considered! You should be able to invest the money conservatively, generate adequate income and have an estate left over for the heirs! Remember to satisfy the income need before looking at equities. There are no exceptions!

So here we have a last resort product, designed for the poor, that the industry has chrome plated, spit-polished, and supercharged for marketing to people who should know better than to include equities in an income portfolio. Why? Is it because financial pros really think these products are universally suitable? Is it the commissions? Or is RISK just a board game that they played in college?

Click for Details --> Annuities - Part One <--

 
Retirement Ready Income Programs
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Johns Island, SC 29455
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Steve Selengut is registered as an investment adviser representative. His assessments and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of any business entity; the information is only intended to be educational and thought provoking.

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Risk Management: Income, 401k, and IRA Programs

Take a free tour of a professional investment managers' private SEP IRA program during ten years surrounding the financial crisis:

CLICK HERE

In developing the investment plan, personal financial goals, objectives, time frames, and future income requirements should all be considered. A first step would be to assure that small portfolios (under $50,000) are at least 50% income focused.

At the $100,000 level, between 30% and 40% income focused is fine, but above age 50, the income focus allocation needs to be no less than 40%... and it could increase in 10% increments every five years.

The "Income Bucket" of the Asset Allocation is itself a portfolio risk minimization tool, and when combined with an "Equity Bucket" that includes only Investment Grade Value Stocks, it becomes a very powerful risk regulator over the life of the portfolio.

Other Risk Minimizers include: "Working Capital Model" based Asset Allocation, fundamental quality based selection criteria, diversification and income production rules, and profit taking guidelines for all securities,

Dealing with changes in the Investment Environment productively involves a market/interest rate/economic cycle appreciation, as has evolved in the Market Cycle Investment Management (MCIM) methodology. Investors must formulate realistic expectations about investment securities--- by class and by type. This will help them deal more effectively with short term events, disruptions and dislocations.

Over the past twenty years, the market has transitioned into a "passive", more products than ever before, environment on the equity side...  while income purpose investing has actually become much easier in the right vehicles. MCIM relies on income closed end funds to power our programs.

To illustrate just how powerful the combination of highest quality equities plus long term closed end funds has been during this time... we have provided an audio PowerPoint that illustrates the development of a Self Directed IRA portfolio from 2004 through 2014.

Throughout the years surrounding the "Financial Crisis", Annual income nearly tripled from $8,400 to $23,400 and Working Capital grew 80% $198,000 to $356,000.

Total income is 6.5% of capital and more than covers the RMD.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b4i8b5nnq3hafaq/2015-02-24%2011.30%20Income%20Investing_%20The%206_%20Solution.wmv?dl=0

Managing income purpose securities requires price volatility understanding and disciplined income reinvestment protocals. "Total realized return" (emphasis on the realized) and compound earnings growth are the key elements. All forms of income secuities are liquid when dealt with in Closed End Funds. 



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Please read this disclaimer:
Steve Selengut is registered as an investment advisor representative. His assessments and opinions are purely his own and do not represent the views of any other entity. None of his commentary is or should be considered either investment advice or a solicitation of business. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be or should be construed as an endorsement of any entity or organization. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or investments mentioned are any more than illustrations --- they are never recommendations, and others will most certainly disagree with the thoughts presented in the article.