Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Money Mag: Index annuities are a safety trap



I am not a fan of Indexed Annuities. Equity Indexed Annuities (EIA) are the reason I started working with educators, so I guess they've done some good! Back in 1997 I came across my first teacher with an Equity Indexed Annuity, one sold by Americo - it was toxic. Sure, you could never lose money (unless you surrendered in the first ten years...), but the index formula was so stacked against the client and so easily manipulated by the insurance company that I believed the client would be lucky to earn 2% annually. I found that this was not only common, but rampant and the last decade has seen nothing but huge growth in these products.

When people ask me if Equity Indexed Annuities are good for retirement, I tell them yes, as long as you are talking about the retirement of the agent selling them. Commissions are huge, incentives are amazing (trips to every exotic locale you can imagine) and most of the agents have never read the contract or can even do the actual crediting method calculation.

Great job to Money Magazine for exposing these scams (something I've been doing now for 13 years).

Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MSFP, AIF
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