Variable Annuity

In contrast to a fixed annuity, the key features of a variable annuity can fluctuate (they are “variable”) during the accumulation period and during the payout phase. Also in contrast to a fixed annuity, the variable annuity contract holder assumes much of the investment risk. With a variable annuity, the insurance company provides the contract holder with the ability to determine how his or her premiums are invested. One investment option is a variable account which typically consists of equity, bond or money market mutual funds. The other option is the general account of a variable annuity which provides a guaranteed return. The contract holder decides how much risk or variability they want to tolerate by allocating premium payments among the general and variable accounts. The amount of money accumulated and the amount of income during the payout phase are determined by the returns of these accounts. With a variable annuity: 1) the money can go in as a single premium payment or a series of payments; 2) the money is invested at a variable or non guaranteed rate; 3) payments are variable and can begin immediately or at some future date.

Noteworthy Reads - October 17, 2013

- Buffett and Berkshire adding equity exposure to defined benefit...

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Jackson Approaching Variable Annuity Capacity Limits

In yet another sign of variable annuity capacity constraints, Jackson National recently announced that they are approaching the upper range for 2012 sales of variable annuities with guaranteed living benefits . Jackson’s November 8 press release indicates the company has roughly $1 billion worth of remaining 2012 capacity. Jackson indicated that this remaining capacity will be used for new product sales and that they will no longer accept new 1035 exchange business or qualified transfers...
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Understanding the Value of Living Benefit Guarantees

Advisor Perspectives just published the first in a series of articles from Wade Pfau. These pieces are important and should be read by anyone considering guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits or any of the other optional...

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Questioning the Need for Bonds in Retirement

Conventional financial wisdom says that bonds should comprise an increasing percentage of a portfolio as the owner ages and heads into retirement.

In theory, a retiree’s need for income and a reduced tolerance for risk are the main drivers of the larger allocation to bonds.

A key consideration, though, is...

Research Highlights Fixed SPIAs

Retirement researcher Wade Pfau published a research paper titled “An Efficient Frontier for Retirement Income .” Pfau’s paper analyzes the relative merits of equities, bonds, fixed single premium immediate annuities (SPIA), inflation -adjusted SPIAs and variable annuities with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits ( GLWB ). Each of these allocation options are examined in the context of achieving retirement spending goals. Pfau creates an efficient frontier for a...

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