Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Crude Oil Price Trend Forecast - Saudi's Want $100 for ARAMCO Stock IPO - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold Price Focusing on May Cycle Bottom - Jim_Curry
3.Silver, silver, and silver! There’s More Than Silver, People! - P_Radomski_CFA
4.Is the Malaysian Economy a Potemkin Village - Sam_Chee_Kong
5.Stock Market Study Shows Why You Shouldn’t “Sell in May and Go Away” - Troy_Bombardia
6.A Big Stock Market Shock is About to Start - Martin C
7.A Long Term Gold Very Unpopular View - Rambus_Chartology
8.Stock Market “Sell in May and go away” Study When Stocks Are Down YTD - Troy_Bombardia
9.Global Currency RESET Challenge: Ultimate Twist - Jim_Willie_CB
10.The Coming Silver Supply Crunch Is Worse Than You Know - Jeff Clark
Last 7 days
Trump Puts North Korea Nuclear WAR Back on Track as Plans for Nobel Peace Prize Evaporate - 25th May 18
Insane EU GDPR SCAM Triggers Mass Email Spam Attacks! - 24th May 18
Stock Market Higher Again, but Still No Breakout - 24th May 18
Study: Slowing Global Economic Growth IS NOT Bearish for U.S. Stocks - 24th May 18
What if This Week’s Rally in Gold is Already Over? - 24th May 18
EUR/USD – Reward for Bears - 24th May 18
5 Terrible Trading Mistakes That Rookie Investors Keep Making - 24th May 18
More Clarity for the Short Term for Bitcoin Price - 22nd May 18
Study: A Rising and Strong U.S. Dollar Isn’t Consistently Bearish for the Stock Market - 22nd May 18
Gold, Silver & US Dollar Updates with Review of Latest COTS - 22nd May 18
Upside DOW Stock Market Breakout May Be Just the Beginning - 22nd May 18
5 Reasons Why Forex Trading Is Becoming Such A Big Deal In SA - 22nd May 18
Fibonacci And Elliot Wave Predict Stock Market Breakout Highs - 21st May 18
Stock Market Ideal Cycle Low Near - 21st May 18
5 Effects Of Currency Fluctuations On The Economy - 21st May 18
Financial Conditions are Still too Easy for the Stocks Bull Market to End - 21st May 18
US Stock Market Elliott Wave Predictions for 2018 and Beyond - 20th May 18
Are You Still Fearful of Cryptos? - 20th May 18
US Stocks - Why I am Short-term Bearish, Medium-term Bullish - 20th May 18
Looking for a Turn in Gold Price - 20th May 18
GDX Gold Mining Stock Fundamentals 2018 - 19th May 18
Semiconductor Stock Market Canaries: Chirp, Warble… Soon a Croak and Silence? - 19th May 18
Three Drivers of Gold Price - 18th May 18
Gold Market in First Tertile of 2018 - 18th May 18
What Happens Next When Small Cap (Russell) Leads the Stock Market - 17th May 18
Negative Signs for EUR/USD? AUD/USD - Battle - 17th May 18
DOW Jones and CRUDE Oil on a Cliff Edge, Waiting for a Nudge! - 17th May 18
Gold Price No More Subtleness – It’s Show Time! - 17th May 18
VIX Cycles Point to Stock Market Correction - 17th May 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Trading Lessons

When All You Have Left Is the Cost of Breakfast at McDonald’s

Personal_Finance / Pensions & Retirement Jul 23, 2014 - 03:45 PM GMT

By: Don_Miller

Personal_Finance

When I was 20 years old, I sat through my first day of a business law course at Northwestern University. The professor began by writing two words on the blackboard (in the prehistoric days of blackboards and chalk): Caveat emptor. He raised his voice and said, “Let the buyer beware!” I’m here to echo his warning, but this time it’s about annuities.

Annuities are at the top of the list of complicated products that often profit insurance companies without adequately compensating the buyer in return. Put plainly, sometimes you don’t get what you thought you paid for.


And, while annuities are often described as a “transfer of risk,” which is basically correct, owning an annuity will not transfer the risk of one of the greatest hazard’s to a retiree’s financial security: inflation. Inflation isn’t the only risk to worry about—lack of liquidity and insurance company default should also top your list of concerns—but it can be the most treacherous for someone with an annuity-heavy portfolio.  

Will an annuity protect your lifestyle? In the short term, it might. If you believe the Federal Reserve when it says it will keep inflation at 2% or less, perhaps it will for a period of time. Even then, inflation will eat away at the buying power of your annuity payout fairly quickly. You are contractually guaranteed income; however, that does not guarantee your lifestyle.

To see the effect, my analysts and I charted the purchasing power of a single premium immediate lifetime annuity with installment refund, which pays $583.33 per month. We’ve compared several inflation scenarios: the currently tame 2% inflation rate; the long-run average of about 3%; and the possibility of things getting considerably worse at 7% inflation. We’re not even talking about hyperinflation—just reasonable estimates.

Even at the low 2% inflation rate, your $583.33 benefit would only have the purchasing power of $392.56 after 20 years. In the 7% inflation scenario, the purchasing power would be down to $150.74. Let’s put this into context.

The average US electricity bill is around $103.67. The average cellphone bill is $111. According to the USDA, an elderly household of two that’s being extremely thrifty could get its monthly grocery bill down to as low as $357.30 per month. In total, that’s $571.97 – leaving just enough for a McDonald’s breakfast.

Right off the bat, that isn’t so bad. The annuity takes care of the cellphones, the electricity, the groceries, and leaves a little extra. However, after 20 years at 2% inflation and a purchasing power of $392.56, the benefit would only be enough to pay for the thrifty grocery budget, leaving only $35.26 left over. Though your annuity benefits are the same, prices have risen, so now you have less purchasing power.

After 20 years of 3% inflation, it gets even worse. With $219.85 in purchasing power, you’ll have to weigh either purchasing 2/3 of your usual groceries against paying the electricity and phones. You won’t be able to do it all. By the third year, you will need to add funds to your annuity payment to cover those expenses.

And under the 7% scenario, you’ll only be able to pay for the electricity bill with less than $50 in purchasing power left over. That’s hardly the lifetime income most annuity buyers had in mind.

Furthermore, consider that our assumptions are a little optimistic. In all likelihood, your electricity and grocery bills will probably rise faster than the rate of inflation. If that’s the case, then you’d be in real trouble.

So, while annuities promise guaranteed income, they certainly do not guarantee what that income will afford you in the future.

Annuity policies can be structured with inflation protection, but those options are expensive in terms of the lower initial payments. With benefits starting so much lower, you would have to live an exceptionally long time to make them work out.

Depending on your circumstances, an annuity might play a useful role in your long-term financial plans. There is much to be said for transferring some risk to a quality insurance company. However, transfering one risk without planning for another could be catastrophic. Even something like a 5% inflation rider might not protect you if higher inflation rates become a reality. If a considerable portion of your portfolio is in annuities, then another portion needs to be balanced to fight inflation, with holdings such as precious metals.

While it’s impossible to make the risk of inflation go away, there are a few simple things you can do to minimize it:

  • Never hold a very large portion of your portfolio in annuities. If high inflation picks up you could be entirely cleaned out.
  • If you’re holding annuities, make sure that another part of your portfolio is geared to hedge against inflation.

Now, I’m not shouting caveat emptor just for the heck of it. As a retirement advocate and senior editor at Miller’s Money Forever my mandate is transparent financial education for seniors, conservative investors and anyone serious about building a rich retirement. That’s why my team of analysts and I have put together a free, comprehensive special report called Annuities De-Mystified—Three Simple Tools for Choosing the Right Annuity. Get the full truth on annuities by downloading your complimentary copy of Annuities De-Mystified today.

The article When All You Have Left Is the Cost of Breakfast at McDonald’s was originally published at millersmoney.com.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules