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Oct 12, 2015 by |

The Case for Simplicity in Retirement Finance


It’s tempting to see retirement saving as a viable way to get big returns off Wall St. investment, to provide a hefty sum for potential medical costs, caretaking, and passing on to the next generation of your family. But the cost of big returns is big risks, and when you’re gambling your funds on the stock market, it’s always the House that wins. Financial products that promise guaranteed high returns often provide the opposite, and losing out on that income can lead to seniors outliving their retirement funds and being left in the lurch. Companies like Transamerica and Fidelity and Guaranty that sell products such as deferred annuities and Indexed Universal Life Insurance promise that they can manage the risk to the customer and offer them guaranteed high returns.

Elder finance is awash in scams, tricks, and confidence men that it can be hard to sort out the valid financial products from the complete ripoffs. But somewhere in the middle is the ambiguous area of complicated financial products that promise a bit more than they can deliver. These products can be offered by seemingly reputable companies, and often are disguised among far more innocuous offering. But instead of providing the best of both free market and bond portfolios, they instead tend to be both risky and unprofitable. Indexed universal Life insurance is one of these offerings.

Transamerica, Fidelity and Guaranty, and other companies that offer products like this do so in the hope of producing higher stock prices and greater returns for their shareholders. But we hold insurance companies and other enterprises that deal with people life savings to a higher standard than we hold those dealing with venture and investment capital. If they want to play risky games with their money, they should be in another line of work. Sales of indexed universal life insurance can sometime benefit the seller more than they buyer.

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