By: Stuart Boxenbaum
Looking for an FIA can seem intimidating at first, so consulting with a financial professional with access to these product choices is critical.
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You’ve worked hard your whole life and put away as much money as possible in your company’s 401(k); now you’re watching the market unravel before your very eyes — you’ve seen ups and downs in the market all year.
You can’t help but think, “Should I have more money outside of the market that can guarantee me an income for life and less in stocks and mutual funds?”
You never asked your employer this question and now are only months from retirement — what do you do now? How do you structure your retirement money so that the nice, predictable, and comfortable retirement you’ve always dreamed of is what you’ll have?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to better prepare for retirement:
How much will I need?
The first place to start is with calculating how much money you will need every month in retirement. What are your monthly expenses? Do you have a mortgage? What about a car payment, or two?
One way to figure out these numbers is to simply add your checking account expenses for the last 12 months and divide by 12 to get your monthly recurring expenses.
Now you can put a financial income plan together!
Let’s say that your monthly expenses add up to $5,000 per month. The next step is calculating where your income is coming from: Will you be collecting Social Security or a pension? If you are married, what about your spouse? You’ve added up your income and see that you’ll have a guaranteed income from a pension and Social Security of $3,000 each month, leaving you with an additional $2,000 needed.
How can you come up with an additional $2,000? Is there an account that can be set up that could bring in that kind of guaranteed income? More importantly, with the volatility of the stock market, you need to find something that can provide income without the risk the market brings.
How can I generate a guaranteed income with no market risk?
Products like fixed index annuities (FIAs) can provide market protection with competitive growth opportunities; unfortunately, these accounts are often misunderstood.
Fixed index annuity performance is based on one or more of the major stock market indices — the S&P 500, Dow Jones 30, NASDAQ, Barclays, International, fixed, and more. When the market is up, interest is credited to the account— usually with a cap — but, when the market is down, your interest rate is guaranteed never to be less than zero.
Results vary from one company or index to another, but today, there are many options to choose from. In addition to risk protection, there are often additional benefits, such as income riders, which will guarantee for life your income payout as long as there is a guaranteed fixed interest rate.
How do I find an FIA that’s right for me?
There is a slew of annuities out there, but I like to narrow down choices for my clients by splitting their thoughts into two separate categories:
- Financial objectives
What do you want to get out of your retirement account? Everyone’s a little different — from traveling to just maintaining a certain lifestyle, no one person has the same idea for retirement. Just like people, each FIA is a little different and can provide different return options, surrender periods, and other features. Keep your objectives in mind when looking for a fixed index annuity.
For example, you wouldn’t want to purchase an annuity with a 10-year surrender period when you intend to retire in five years. Look at your specific retirement needs, then begin the process of choosing.
- Riders and benefits
Many annuities will come with riders, which can act as special benefits in addition to the market protection and growth opportunities an annuity already offers. Some riders include long-term care benefits, and even death benefits, for passing your wealth onto your heirs.
Looking for an FIA can seem intimidating at first, so consulting with a financial professional with access to — and years of experience with — these product choices is critical. This is your money and retirement, so take your time!
By stepping back, taking a look at your retirement needs, and looking for the right products that can meet those needs, you may be well on your way to an annuity that can help you achieve a retirement you’ve always wanted!
Stuart D. Boxenbaum is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, insurance and securities licensed, and president and founder of Statewide Financial Group. He has a Master of Science in business management from Troy State University and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Colorado State University. He is also a former U.S. Air Force commissioned officer. Mr. Boxenbaum focuses on complete financial planning, including income, retirement, and investment planning and annuity and life insurance analysis.
Mr. Boxenbaum believes in giving back to the community and has donated over 15 gallons of blood since 1991 to One Blood in South Florida.
Investment advisory services offered through Virtue Capital Management, LLC, an SEC-Registered Investment Advisor. Annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. By contacting us, you may be provided with information about insurance, including annuities, offered through Stuart Boxenbaum, FL Insurance License #A02743. DT006552-0120
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