An investor’s allocation to stocks and bonds is often the most consequential investment decision he or she will make. But the practice of translating investment risk into a stock to bond ratio is fraught with misunderstanding.
Advisors providing retirement recommendations will find it helpful to use a graphical approach to show the year-by-year progression of funds available during retirement.
In biblical tradition, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are a quartet of immensely powerful entities personifying the four prime concepts – war, famine, pestilence and death – that drive the apocalypse. For today’s investors, the equivalent is historically high equity valuations, historically low bond yields, increasing longevity and, as a result, the increasing need for what can be very expensive long-term care.
Americans have under-saved and will need more than withdrawals from savings to survive retirement. An optimal withdrawal strategy and asset allocation, delaying Social Security, annuitizing, tapping home equity and possibly working longer need to be evaluated. Let’s take a typical American couple and evaluate which options improve retirement consumption.
Most research on retirement strategies assumes that people have saved adequately. But data on household savings shows that many households fall short, and will need to call on relatives or other sources for support. This raises questions about the best withdrawal or annuity strategies when savings are insufficient. It turns out that which strategy works best is different than for adequately funded retirements.
I’ve seen many positive changes in the advisory business over the past three decades. Fees have gone down and diversification has gone up. Advisors are a large part of the reason flows are moving from expensive active to low-cost passive funds. This has been good for our clients. Still, we have further to go, and having advisors address these 10 failures in their practices will help us get there.
A strategy that combines variable withdrawals with partial annuitization using a single-premium immediate annuity maximizes the cash available for consumption.
Although the general concept of mortality credits is widely understood, the underlying math is not. Understanding the math can help with decisions such as the best age to purchase an annuity and which type of annuity to purchase. Such an understanding can debunk some popular beliefs about annuities.
Since the early 1980s, bond investors have benefitted from declining interest rates. But we may be turning to a future of rising rates and clients suffering bond losses. Advisors need to be prepared both in terms of investment strategy recommendations and communication with clients.
In the prior installment on this series, I exposed the deceptive marketing used to sell fixed-index annuities. Today I will look at a firm that purchases annuities from investors – the Annuity Action Network. It is a way for clients to borrow money at a high interest rate, but it may be an appropriate solution under certain circumstances.