The Truth About Buying Annuities

Paperback | August 5, 2008

bySteve Weisman

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Annuities have become one of the most popular ways to save for retirement and also one of the most misunderstood, overhyped, and dangerous investment vehicles available today. Some annuities are worth the money... but too many are flawed, overpriced, and packed with hidden fees that make them absolutely horrible investments. In The Truth About Buying Annuities, consumer finance expert Steven Weisman helps you make smart decisions about annuities and avoid the lies, misrepresentations, and ripoffs that await uninformed investors. From start to finish, Weisman delivers quick, bite-size, just-the-facts information and plain-English explanations you can actually use. You'll learn all you need to know about immediate, deferred, and variable annuities; actively-managed vs. indexed annuities; inflation-protected and tax-sheltered annuities; and more. Weisman explains the impact of annuities on taxes, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, and your other retirement plans. He presents crucial, hard-to-find information about death benefits, joint and survivor annuities, alternatives to annuities, assessing annuity risk, avoiding scams, and even how to escape from a bad annuity you've already purchased. Unlike some books on annuities, this one's simple to read, simple to use, up-to-date, and complete: it's the only annuity guide you need!

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Annuities have become one of the most popular ways to save for retirement and also one of the most misunderstood, overhyped, and dangerous investment vehicles available today. Some annuities are worth the money... but too many are flawed, overpriced, and packed with hidden fees that make them absolutely horrible investments. In The Tru...

From the Jacket

Avoid the retirement annuity minefield...don't make an expensive, catastrophic mistake!·     The truth about using annuities to protect your future·     The truth about hidden fees that could cost you a fortune·     The truth about the newest types of annuities-good and bad Simply the best thinking...he truth and nothing but the truth ...

Steve Weisman is Senior Lecturer at Bentley College in the department of Law, Tax, and Financial Planning. He has also taught courses on financial planning at the University of Massachusetts, Curry College, and Boston University. He is a host on the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, incl...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.6 inPublished:August 5, 2008Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0132353083

ISBN - 13:9780132353083

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Read from the Book

Introduction "Steve Weisman has accomplished a feat of immense proportion by explaining one of the most complicated investment vehicles in ways that average Americans can easily understand." Robert Powell, Editor, "Retirement Weekly," MarketWatch Saving for retirement used to be so easy. Companies provided pensions that would pay their retired workers for the rest of their lives, not to mention the fact that companies would also pay for health insurance for retirees. On top of that, there was workers' own savings. And don't forget the Social Security check that came in the mail every month. Retirees were set for the rest of their lives. But times have changed. People are living longer. Baby Boomers facing retirement can expect to live considerably longer, but not necessarily healthier, lives than their parents. They will spend much more time in retirement. But few companies offer the kind of guaranteed, defined-benefit pension plan that formerly was so common. The 401(k) is king, and although it provides the potential for considerable retirement savings, it takes some effort and commitment by workers today to provide for tomorrow. As for health insurance, all too often companies are telling retirees that they are on their own. In addition, people are not saving as much as they did in the past. And even that Social Security check doesn't seem quite as secure as it once did. Things look rough for retirees. But to the rescue have come insurance companies and others with a product that guarantees it will provide retirement income for the rest of your life. The product is the annuity. It is not a new idea, but it may be an idea whose time has come, with close to 2 trillion dollars now invested in all kinds of annuities. But is this the answer to our problems? According to H.L. Mencken, "For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." Well, annuities are far from simple. And although they may appear neat, they are quite complicated. They also are dead wrong for many people who own them, particu-larly elderly purchasers of deferred variable annuities, who were sold inappropriate annuities by salespeople more interested in the high commissions that annuities bring to salespeople than in helping their clients. But are annuities always wrong? The answer is no. Annuities have much not to like about them, including high fees along with misleading and sometimes illusory benefits. However, this investment, which has been around since early Roman times, has evolved and continues to evolve in an effort by insurance companies and other legitimate issuers of annuities to provide secure retirement income for people. If you look hard enough, you can find lower fee annuities that provide benefits which may be tailored to your particular retirement needs. But you need to know the truth. Perhaps nowhere in the investment world is there more misleading and downright wrong information about an investment product than with annuities. But this book will tell you the truth. It explains, in clear and understandable language, basic information you need to know about the many different types of annuities. It tells you what the pitfalls of annuities are. It tells you about the lies and misrepresentations to avoid. It also tells you about where annuities might play a useful part in your own retirement planning, when to use them, and how to use them. It gives you the rules in simple and concise language so that armed with this information, you can make an intelligent and confident decision as to whether annuities should be a part of your retirement planning. Oscar Wilde said, "A man who does not think for himself, does not think at all." This book will give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision for yourself about one of the most important issues you will face for the rest of your life—how to make your money last a lifetime. © Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Introduction v

Truth 1          The history of annuities 1

Truth 2          Immediate annuities 5

Truth 3          Fixed rates 9

Truth 4          Deferred annuities 13

Truth 5          Annuity fees 17

Truth 6          Variable annuities 21

Truth 7          Variable annuity investment choices 25

Truth 8          Actively managing variable annuity sub-accounts 29

Truth 9          Indexed annuities 33

Truth 10        More about indexed annuities 37

Truth 11        Calculating index changes 41

Truth 12        Inflation protected annuities 45

Truth 13        Tax-sheltered annuities 49

Truth 14        Annuity settlement options 53

Truth 15        Tax deferral 57

Truth 16        Annuity risk 61

Truth 17        Annuity death benefits 66

Truth 18        Annuities and income taxes 69

Truth 19        Tax-free 1035 exchanges 73

Truth 20        Charitable gift annuities 77

Truth 21        Split annuities 81

Truth 22        Joint and survivor annuities 85

Truth 23        Shorter surrender annuities 89

Truth 24        Longevity insurance 93

Truth 25        Inheriting an annuity 97

Truth 26        Variable Annuities versus variable universal life insurance 101

Truth 27        Choosing between mutual funds and an annuity 105

Truth 28        Annuities and asset allocation 109

Truth 29        Asset allocation and laddering annuities 113

Truth 30        Minimum required distributions 117

Truth 31        59 ½ 121

Truth 32        Annuities in IRAs 125

Truth 33        Annuities and 401(k)s 129

Truth 34        More about annuities, IRAs, and 401(k)s 133

Truth 35        Annuities for children 137

Truth 36        Bonus credits 141

Truth 37        The Pension Protection Act, annuities, and long-term care 145

Truth 38        Annuities and Medicaid 149

Truth 39        Annuities and reverse mortgages 153

Truth 40        State Guaranty laws 157

Truth 41        Annuities and creditor protection 161

Truth 42        Getting out of an annuity 165

Truth 43        Annuity scams and senior citizens 169

Truth 44        Annuities and class actions 173

Truth 45        Prospectuses and annuities 177

Truth 46        Free looks 181

Truth 47        For whom annuities are best 185

Truth 48        Steve’s annuity rules part one 189

Truth 49        Steve’s annuity rules part two 193

Truth 50        Where to go for Information 197

About the Author 201