Safe Money Places

Fixed Annuities

Prior to the late 1970s annuities were primarily used as a retirement income vehicle. The textbook definition of an annuity in those days was “A periodic income for a specified length of time, for life, or a combination of the two.” Today, however, annuities can mean much more.

Fixed And Variable Annuity Differences

The differences between variable annuities and fixed annuities are significant. In a variable annuity, because your income or account value is based on the value of the stocks or bonds backing the annuity assets, the income and/or account values fluctuate. When you read or hear about annuities in the media, most of the time the subject is VARIABLE annuities NOT FIXED annuities.

Unlike with fixed annuities, the annuity owner bears the investment risk with variable annuities. Therefore, variable annuities are considered investment securities and would be a “risk money place” for your money.

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Fixed annuities provide a guaranteed minimum interest rate and are considered savings instruments. Insurance companies issue all fixed annuities. They are not government or bank obligations, so naturally they are not FDIC insured. However, fixed annuities have an extraordinary record of safety and offer other benefits.

Annuities Can Provide:

  • A means of accumulating interest on a tax advantaged basis.
  • An estate instrument that preserves and protects assets.
  • A guaranteed income for life that also lets you access the principal.

Tax Advantages

Money remaining inside an annuity grows without being taxed until withdrawn. Unlike qualified retirement accounts where you must begin taking out money around age 70, most annuity contracts permit the owner to enjoy the advantage of tax deferral until age 85, 90, or even later.

Tax deferred does not mean tax-free; interest is taxed when withdrawn. Also, the Treasury Department charges a 10% penalty on interest, in addition to regular taxes, if withdrawals are made before age 59.

Life Insurance

We all can agree that planning for the financial well being of our families is certainly a subject we should give some serious thought to. And that’s the purpose of the following information – a serious though not complicated look at “the truth about life insurance” and why it’s important to you.

First of all, let’s get one simple truth out of the way right now … it’s not a pleasant thought, but it is a necessary one: Life insurance is about what a person is going to leave to his or her heirs after he or she dies (and that “what” means m-o-n-e-y). But, life insurance can be much more than that; in fact, life insurance can be a way to build up a personal fund that you may use yourself BEFORE you die.

Buying life insurance can be very confusing because, today, you have so many choices. If you’ve ever thought about “What is the best type of life insurance to own,” the simple and best answer is “The type of life insurance that is in force on the day your heirs need it!” That may sound like some salesperson’s quick retort, but it is really The Truth!

However, most Americans have many, many other questions bouncing around in their minds when they get around to giving serious thought to buying life insurance. Here are a few of those important questions:

  • “Which type of policy should I buy?”
  • “How much coverage do I need?”
  • “How long will I need that coverage for?”
  • “How much will I be able to afford to spend on life insurance?”

Term Life Insurance

It should come as no surprise to you that “term” life insurance involves “time,” that it pays a death benefit to your heirs only if you (the insured) die during a specified period.

Permanent Life Insurance

The two primary differences between Term Life and Permanent Life insurance are: Permanent Life Insurance provides you with coverage throughout your entire lifetime, and it may include a way for you to build “cash value in your policy.

Long Term Care

Long-term care is a service that provides medical and non-medical care to people who have chronic illnesses and disabilities, as well as people who need assistance with day-to-day living.

According to, 21 million people required long-term care services and about 70% of people over the age of 65 required this service at some point during their lives.

Medicare does not cover "custodial" care, which is assistance with day-to-day living. Medicare only covers "skilled" care such as dispensing medicine, medical tests and diagnosis, etc. However, assistance with bathing, using the restroom, eating, household chores, etc ... are considered “custodial” care and are not covered by Medicare.

Preparing for the unexpected is a wise choice when it comes to healthcare. Having a long-term care policy could end up saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Long Term Care Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Broker (money manager)
  • Stay at home
  • Move in with children or relatives
  • What if care is more than you or they can handle
  • Savings account/CD’s
  • Stocks & bonds
  • Medicaid/Veterans assistance programs
  • Hit the lottery
  • Avg cost in an ALF is approx $30,000 a year for one person
  • Avg cost in a SNF is approx $74,000 a year for one person
  • Make a plan now
  • You may have assets (annuities) to use tax free
  • Know what you may or may not have coming to you
  • Deal with a professional in the field