“OK, Now What?”

The market has performed much better over the past 3 months. From a low on 3/09/09 to now, the S & P has risen over 34%. This is an encouraging sign for investors…..BUT…..(as a friend of mine might say, “That’s a mighty big but you have!”)

All kidding aside, the question we all face is – “OK, Now WHAT?” As I talk with clients, attitudes range from “Gloom & Doom” expecting yet another downturn in our roller-coaster ride, to “Cautiously Optimistic”. A common quote is “I don’t want to lose anymore.” (Sound familiar?)

We still have the same issues – we are living longer than we used to. Hallmark sold over 85,000 birthday cards last year for individuals who had reached at least their 100th birthday. The 100+ group is our fastest growing demographic and current life expectancies are 85 for males, 87 for females.

Over that time, being retired for 25 or more years, you WILL see inflation. As certain as death & taxes.

* Do you have enough money to live 25 years or more in retirement?

* Are you prepared to keep up with rapidly rising costs?

* Is your money protected well enough to weather another economic storm?

How can you get growth, income, and protection at the same time? One idea is with a variable annuity. Please meet with your advisor to determine if a variable annuity is right for you.  There are several benefits (protections) which annuities offer which are appealing. I’ll address these in a future article, but for now lets look at the basics.

According to wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annuity_(US_financial_products),  an annuity contract is created when an individual gives a life insurance company money which may grow on a tax-deferred basis and then can be distributed back to the owner in several ways.

A variable annuity works much like a mutual fund (or funds). The funds, known as subaccounts, are held and backed by an insurance company. The insurance company can provide protections on your investment for income, death benefit, and in some cases they can even provide a minimum rate of growth. The ‘catch’ is that you pay for the protection thru annual fees and charges.

Annuities (and insurance) has changed much over the past 10 years. New government regulations has made insurers to become more client friendly, easier to understand, with more benefits to clients.

One way to look at the positive changes in annuities is to think of improvements made in other products. Think of cell phones for example. When they first arrived on the scene in the 1980’s, phones were heavy (remember the backpacks!), expensive, with poor reception, and few features. Now think of them today – you can do all kinds of activities on a cell phone, even take pictures, videos, and use the internet – and the phone easily fits into your pocket.

I will be covering more on annuities to come. You may contact me at www.helpmy401k.us. You may also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DeanVoelker.

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