I’ll Never Buy an Annuity!
If I had a dollar for everyone who told me that, I’d be writing this on the beach in Jamaica instead of in my office looking out at the foot of freshly fallen snow. We all know the reasons why consumers don’t buy annuities; you have to give up control of your money, if you die before you spend it the insurance company keeps your money, there are too many hidden fees, the brokers who sell them can’t be trusted and on and on.
Fortunately, most of these reasons are false or misrepresented. But I bet you would be surprised to know that most of the people who say they would never buy an annuity already own one. If you are a US taxpayer you own one, in fact you contribute to it every time you get paid. Didn’t know you had an annuity lying around with a bunch of money in it? Well you do, it’s called Social Security. Now I know what you’re thinking, I just validated all the reasons why people don’t like annuities. We don’t have a choice to pay into the system, if you die too soon after starting payments you probably didn’t get back all you put in and we all know the politicians who make the rules governing the program are completely trustworthy.
However, much like annuities, Social Security gets a bad rap when in reality it’s a very valuable piece of the retirement puzzle. It provides income you can’t outlive, is adjusted for inflation, provides benefits to your survivors if you die before retirement and provides income if you become disabled. When you add it all up that Social Security annuity could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. So now that you love your annuity, Social Security, you need to manage it just like any other investment you have.
Decisions you make when it comes time to start collecting can have a huge impact on the amount of money you receive. For example, when should I start collecting, age 62, or wait until I reach full retirement age? Should I take advantage of my spouse’s benefits because they earned more than I did? Can I collect based on the earnings of my ex? All good questions that really can’t be answered without looking at your overall retirement portfolio and coordinating it with your Social Security benefits to maximize your income. So next time someone tells you they would never buy an annuity, remind them they already own one and it’s pretty good.
If you would like to learn how to maximize your Social Security or just have questions about annuities, click on the links below to send me an email or visit my website to get a copy of the e-book ‘Savior Retirement’.
To learn more from this author, click here (John Grimes).
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