Hybrid or fixed indexed annuity sales are up 39% since this time last year. Adam Moeller, a financial advisor with AJM Financial in Denver, Colorado, has been working with annuities for the past ten years and says there are four main types of annuities.
An immediate annuity is when you give a lump sum of money to an insurance company and in return, you get payments typically for the rest of your life. A fixed annuity is very similar to a bank CD, for a fixed term and interest rate. A variable annuity is where you give your money to an insurance company and they have 40-50 different mutual type accounts and you choose these accounts. Your returns are based upon how the market is doing at the time and the biggest issues with variable annuities are the fees, Moeller cautions, which can be anywhere from 3-7% annually.
The most popular type of annuity right now is the hybrid annuity, which is also called an equity or fixed index annuity. The insurance companies have taken the best features of all the other three annuities and put it into one hybrid annuity. It's a lump sum going in and at any time, you can take that income stream and if you pass away, your beneficiaries get the money, vs. an immediate annuity in which the insurance company keeps the money. What they took from the fixed annuity is that you're always going to have a guaranteed fixed rate of return of 4-7%, regardless of how the market is performing. From the variable annuity, they took that your money is linked to the market in some fashion. Over the past three years, there has been close to $27 billion that has gone into hybrids, according to Moeller.
Registered reps are starting to realize the importance of adding hybrid annuities to a well-rounded portfolio, Moeller says. "It can reduce the risk exposure of the entire portfolio while improving the overall performance," he adds. If a client is interested in annuities, they need to ask themselves what they want to achieve before they make a purchase and working with a credible advisor will help. Once goals have been established, specific products with features to fit their needs can be considered.
Adam Moeller can be reached at 720-974-4800 or at myajmfinancial.com. He spoke with Retirement News Today, providing online retirement video news content. Retirement News Today is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.