Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stars are Aligned for Fixed Indexed Annuities and Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits

By: Charlie Gipple, CLU, ChFC, SVP Sales and Marketing at Partners Advantage Insurance Services, LLC


The year was 1994, and there was a CFP from California that would create one of the most profound “rules of thumb” for retirement income that has ever been created.  William Bengen wrote an article which appeared in the Journal of Financial Planning, and it released the results of this very profound study that he had just undertaken.  This study is what started the “Gold Standard” safe withdrawal rate of 4%.  William basically said that even though over time the market had averaged around 10%, in the distribution years, it doesn’t mean that a client can “safely” withdraw 10% from their portfolios.  So, what William did is he back-tested hypothetical retirement “start dates,” assuming a 50% stock and 50% bond portfolio all the way back to the 1920s, using the actual stock and bond market performance. 

After the analysis was said and done, he said that consumers were “safe” by withdrawing 4% of their initial portfolio value per year adjusted for inflation or deflation.  By “safe,” what he meant was that the 4% distributions were very unlikely to spend down the client’s portfolio/retirement money before the end of the 30-year retirement.  As a matter of fact, in his study, he had a 100% success rate using the 4% rule for retirement income. 
As a result of this study, securities reps for almost two decades have been living and dying by this rule. If a client has a million dollars at retirement, then the client should not take more than $40,000 during the first retirement year, for example. A later study was done in 2013 that was coauthored by Morningstar Inc. It established, in this new world of volatile markets and low interest rates, that the new “safe withdrawal rate” is actually 2.8%. 

The study also indicated that with today’s low-interest rates, market volatility, and SEQUENCE OF RETURNS RISK that there is almost a 52% chance of failure using the 4% rule. Would you get on an airplane if there was a 48% chance of having the number of landings equal the number of takeoffs?

Before looking at what a GLWB can do for a client on a “guaranteed* basis,” I want to point something out. When you look at this risk that we just discussed, which is the client losing 20% of their portfolio value and then taking a major pay cut in retirement or having to delay retirement, this risk is just as catastrophic as say a car crash, medical emergency, a house fire, etc. Or, maybe even death itself. What is the point? My point is, when risks in our lives are catastrophic, should they occur, we take actions to hedge those risks. What do we use? We use something called insurance!

Learn more about FIAs and GLWBs in the full white paper "Stars are Aligned for Fixed Indexed Annuities and Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits" by Charlie Gipple, CLU, ChFC. Gain insights on how to help your clients with FIAs and GLWBs and walk them through hypothetical scenarios that show them how FIAs can be great inflation fighting products.

Call your Partners Advantage Brokerage Team at 888-251-5525, ext. 700 for a copy.

For financial professional use only. Not for use with consumers4

*Guarantees are backed by the Financial Strength and claims-paying ability of issuing company.

Annuities are designed to meet long-term needs for retirement income. They provide guarantees against the loss of premium and credited interest, and the reassurance of a death benefit for beneficiaries.

An income rider or benefit (sometimes called Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal benefit rider or GLWB rider) is an additional feature available with some annuities and generally optional and come with additional costs. Income benefits are designed to provide income options above and beyond the standard annuitization or free withdrawal features in annuities.

Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, Partners Advantage Insurance Services and their 
representatives do not give tax or legal advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Encourage your clients to consult their tax advisor or attorney.

The information contained in this article is not intended to serve as tax or legal advice and is not intended to provide financial or legal advice and does not address individual circumstances.