MONEY MONDAY 5/14/18
Fifth Third Bank has agreed to pay $6 million to a regulatory body for allegedly misstating the costs and benefits of some annuity transactions - so Simply Money wants to explain more about annuities so you can be a smarter consumer.
So what are annuities? An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company in which you make a lump sum payment or series of payments and in return obtain regular disbursements beginning either immediately or at some point in the future.
And for some of you (not all), this can be a smart retirement tool to help create a stream of income. But over the years, they've become increasingly complex!
There are 3 main types: fixed, variable, indexed. (EXPLAIN)
Plus, remember that annuities are products that are SOLD to you. Salespeople make a commission off of them. This isn't inherently bad… just be aware of this fact.
In most cases, if you think an annuity makes sense for your retirement plan, you want one that is simple with the shortest "surrender" period
And here's what we want you to do if you're sitting across from a salesperson: take out your smartphone. Open up the "recording" app. Then ask this question - "“If I move forward with your recommendation, what will the total compensation be for your firm?” This will allow the salesperson to be transparent.
HERE'S THE SIMPLY MONEY POINT
If you're thinking about buying an annuity for retirement, make sure to do your own research to fully understand the pros and cons of the recommended product. The more educated you are, the better financial decisions you will be able to make.
Every Sunday, Simply Money is answering your money questions in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Sandra: My brother has had a number of financial set-backs in life, and while he’s thankfully doing better, his personal finances are still on shaky ground. And now he’s trying to buy a house for the first time, so the bank wants a co-signer on the loan. How risky is this for me if I co-sign for him?
#3: Personal finances
The biggest financial concern in retirement according to this new poll? Not having enough to cover a medical emergency. Another top concern is having a steady income.
So here's the big question: how do you know if you're actually on track for retirement? It's actually pretty simple: sit down with a trusted financial planner and have he or she "run the numbers." At Simply Money Advisors, we recommend working with a Certified Financial Planner or Chartered Financial Consultant.
Ideally, you should get a personalized financial plan from your planner. This will look at all the "big picture" elements of your financial life: your budget, your investments and risk tolerance, your cash flow, your Social Security strategy… even tax strategies and estate planning strategies.
Think of your financial plan like a road map or Google Maps on your phone: it shows you where you are now… and how to get to where you want to go.
Plus, working with a (human) planner can come with other perks, such as having a sounding board for your money/investment/financial questions. And a planner can be an "emotional buffer," especially when you want to make changes to your plan in reaction to what markets are doing.
HERE'S THE SIMPLY MONEY POINT
If you're within 5 years of retirement, NOW is the time to make sure you're on track! Get a personalized financial plan from a trusted financial planner.