Steve Kerby

Oregon Financial Group

Why Are Annuities So Popular When The Economy Is In A Downward Spiral?

"Just because annuities aren't the best choice for some people doesn't mean they aren't good for anyone, no matter what those financial "gurus" on television say.-Steve Kerby

I'm far from being a "doom and gloom-er," but 2022's tumultuous economic environment has me more than a little concerned about the many seniors with disproportionate amounts of their wealth in the stock market. A sudden market downturn could cause some seniors to lose significant chunks of wealth. Unfortunately, they may not have enough time to recover. If ever there was a time to rethink and rebalance, I believe it's now.

Time for a gut check? Re-assess your portfolio to maintain balance and diversity.

While I don't necessarily subscribe to the rule of thumb that claims the percentage of safer, non-market-correlated assets in your portfolio should equal your age. For example, if you are 65, 65% of your money should be in safer products such as bonds, CDs, annuities, life insurance, and other assets that don't bounce up and down with market movement. The previous decade of lower-than-low interest rates has meant that many people felt pressured into chasing after riskier investments than they might typically own in hopes of getting at least some measure of growth. As a result, many seniors who might ordinarily have a low-risk tolerance reluctantly exposed a higher amount of their wealth to the market.

The amount of money allocated to annuities and other non-correlated products should be limited to the percentage of funds in your portfolio you absolutely do not want to risk losing. That percentage, of course, is higher for some retirees than others. It would be best if you did not have all your assets tied up in annuities or other safe money products. You probably should also not spend too much of your money on alternative investments, such as cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, or precious metals. During turbulent times asset diversity takes on even greater importance. You need to achieve a portfolio balance that meshes well with your relationship with money and your overall retirement goals.

Having fixed index annuities may help.

When you are younger, thinking long-term and staying in the market for the long haul makes sense because you will generally have time to make up losses.

When you are older, though, time is not on your side, and you may want the benefits of an annuity to bring you more peace of mind.

Subject to the issuing company's claims-paying ability, modern annuities, such as "fixed-indexed" annuities (FIAs), solve various issues pre-retirees and retirees face. You can purchase FIAs that give you guaranteed income for life and the protection of your principal. You can also buy an annuity that provides for some of your potential long-term care needs. With the proper annuity contract in your retirement matrix, you will have some steady growth and protection against the potential of outliving your savings.

Are you waiting for higher interest rates?

At this time, interest rates have begun slowly creeping up. Does that mean you should wait for rates to rebound 100% before considering an annuity? Maybe not. Interest rate hikes affect annuities and most other safe money products differently. For instance, annuities are closely correlated with 10-year treasury yields, which determine the rates. Because annuities are purchased for the long-term, insurance companies often offer higher rates than those of other "safe" options such as certificates of deposit.

Talk to a safe money specialist.

While it's true that annuities don't work for everyone, it's worth your time to see if they may solve some pressing retirement concerns, such as outliving your savings or losing your original investment. It's always a wise idea to partner with a retirement income specialist who has your best interests at heart and gives you reliable, accurate advice, even if it's not what you always want to hear.

Steve Kerby picture

Steve Kerby

Oregon Financial Group

5555 SW 196th Ave.

Aloha, Oregon 97078

(503) 936-3535

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