One of our Golden Retirement websites, Go2Income.com, was launched as a place for consumers to gather information about income annuities and how they make retirement better. I recently decided to personally speak with visitors there to learn more about the challenges they were facing in planning for their retirement income.
I learned a few things from those conversations.
First, the visitors had done their homework. They had studied their options and needed just a little more information to make a decision about an important financial purchase.
Second, I confirmed something I already suspected: income annuities are not a turn-off to these individuals and they understand their unique benefits.
Third, they appreciated speaking with someone knowledgeable in this space. One caller told me his advisor explained that the advisor wasn’t licensed to sell annuities and so couldn’t discuss them. Another brought up the topic with an insurance agent — who is able to sell income annuities – but the agent admitted he didn’t know anything about the new IRS-approved QLAC.
Educate yourself on your retirement when advisors can’t
What consumers could use are advisors who understand and present every retirement solution and product, and who are willing to give unbiased opinions about all options that might contribute to a healthy, safe retirement. Let’s agree that our evidence shows such a person doesn’t exist. That means one thing: consumers must educate themselves.
That’s what Go2Income is designed for when it comes to income annuities. You can search for the best price, compare results, and ask questions. The site, for instance, helps you play “what if” games with annuity designs and to search for annuity providers with the most competitive rates.
I won’t tell you that income annuities are the only product you should build into your retirement portfolio – we all need to build a diversified approach to retirement. But I have found that income annuities, particularly in a form called a QLAC, can be extremely helpful, particularly in the second stage of retirement (those later years when expenses increase and savings are slowly depleting).
Questions from Go2Income visitors
Here are some of the questions Go2Income visitors raised with me during our recent conversations:
About income annuities
- How do interest rates impact income annuities? Is this a good or bad time to purchase one?
- If I elect a joint income annuity, what does my spouse receive if I pass away before she does?
- How important are insurance company ratings?
- Should I consider using a deferred income annuity or QLAC to pay for my long-term care premiums?
- Why don’t insurance agents or advisors know about QLAC?
- Can I purchase more than one QLAC with different income start dates to hedge my risk?
- Can I accelerate my QLAC income before age 85 after I purchase?
- What is the RMD calculation for the balance of my rollover IRA or other qualified account after I purchase QLAC?
Some of the questions and the answers will make it to a future release of the site. However, we understand that talking it through may be what our visitors are seeking.
What to do next
After you gather information at Go2Income you can talk to a Go2specialist who can provide answers to your questions. (Retirement planning is complex, and you should act only when you feel you have all the information you need.) You also can send questions to me in writing. I will respond to all queries made to Ask Jerry.
Retirement planning takes time and effort, but when you find the answers to your questions, you can make the best decisions for your specific retirement needs.
In the coming weeks, I will answer more of the questions posed above.