Mention the word “annuity” at a social gathering and you are likely to get a wide range of reactions ranging from “expensive” and “loss of control,” to “lifesaving” and “sleep at night comfort.” As with most things in life, the truth may not really be black and white but shades of gray between the extremes. For a growing number of those either in or planning for retirement, “… the life-time income guarantees offered by these insurance company products can add security to portfolios…” according to a Wall Street Journal report.¹ A surprising comment coming from a leading publication that prior to the 2007-2008 financial crisis had been a long-term critic of these programs.
Getting agreement among a group of people these days is probably more challenging than in recent
memory. When it comes to the economy, however, virtually everyone concurs: This economic downturn
is one of the toughest many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. The hopeful news is that, like all
cycles, it will end. The question is how can you weather the storm and be in the best financial position
when things begin to improve? Continue reading “Surviving, Even Potentially Prospering in Today’s Economy”
Quick: Name the most stressful life experiences. If you said death of a spouse/family member or close friend you would be close as these were ranked first and third respectively by a recent study.1 Actually, divorce was ranked the second most stressful experience.
Continue reading “Navigating Divorce”
When it comes to bonds, the old adage “they ain’t what they used to be” may hold good wisdom in this challenging economic climate. Bonds are essentially loans that investors make to domestic and foreign corporations, U.S. and foreign governments, as well as state and local municipalities. As such, they represent a wide spectrum of investment opportunity. Some, particularly U.S. government and higher-rated corporate and municipal bonds, have been traditionally viewed as a safe haven and buffer against stock market volatility. Others, such as high-yield and international bonds, may offer greater risk with varying degrees of upside potential. Bonds have also been sought for their diversification and for reliable competitive interest rate returns.
Ever feel like you are being “acronym-ed” to the point of distraction? The financial world, with its own brand of terminology, has been accused of making things confusing. Consider the term “ETFs,” which stands for Exchange Traded Fund. These securities enjoy similar trade characteristics with stocks, where the price is determined throughout the trading day by investor demand. As such, most are highly marketable and may also be margined (collateralized for loan purposes at a brokerage).