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Old 01-01-2011, 11:25 PM   #41
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OK, I have read all your replies several times and I respect your advice on NOT purchasing a fixed indexed annuity. It seems unanimous. But how else can I start receiving a guaranteed monthly income to supplement my SS? That CD that 73ss454 (sounds like a Chevelle I once owned..) suggested might do it...for a while. I don't have much time. I'm expecting to be told to go home this week as the work isn't there anymore. It's not only the threat of being laid off that bothers me, it's working in a place where I haven't had a raise in past 8 years. Lost my health ins., vacations, sick days etc. I can't gamble with my savings as it will be used for my income. The days for making money are over. I just need money to live on from now on. BTW. That PenFed CD was only 2.4% at 5 years.
Hi Ralph and welcome to the forums sorry to hear about your ugly job situation.

Sadly there are no guarantees, despite what insurance salesman tell you. Insurance companies can and do go broke, and while this doesn't happen often and sometimes they get bailed out like AIG, the 5% is only guaranteed if you correctly read all of the fine print and the insurance companies stays in business.

I am going to suggest an alternative which still gets you the $15,000 year you need to live on, likely will provide you with a modest increase in income to help offset inflation and probably would leave you with a decent size nest egg for kids or to use if a nursing home is necessary. Historically this would have worked for most of the last 100 year, but we live in really challenging times so no guarantee

This is a variation of the couch potato portfolio developed by Scott Burns.
One of your first steps is to call Vanguard and ask them for help, with $300K portfolio they will probably suggested talking to a Vanguard financial planner and I think the $250 is probably money well spent.

In a nutshell I suggest taking 1/2 the $300,000 and buying Vanguard Total Bond Market Admiral Index Fund, (VBTLX) and the other 1/2 and buying the Vanguard Total Stock Market Admiral Index Fund (VTSAX). You then forget about it as much as possible for a year. At the beginning of next year you look at the total amount take 5% of the total. That is your spending money for the year. You then do what is called re-balancing. You sell which ever fund went up more and buy which ever fund went down (or up less). Meaning that you start each year with 1/2 your money in bonds and 1/2 in the stock fund.

But what happens if the market tanks like it did in 2008? My income will go down but I really need $15,000 a year to get by. Well you have two choices the 100% safe choice is to take 5% no matter what. The slightly riskier approach is to set a floor on the minimum you withdrawal. In your case to be competitive with the annuity I'd suggest $15,000. So you spend from your nest egg either $15,000 or 5% of the remaining balance which ever is more.

Here is what your spending and assets would have like if you had retired and started doing this 5 years ago. As you can see in 2008 your total asset dropped well below the starting level however by this year they came back above the starting level and in 2011 you could spend $15,663 which considering you have not had a pay raise in 8 years would be something.




Couch 20062007200820092010
     
Total Bond Returns4.36%7.02%5.15%6.04%6.53%
Total Stock Returns15.63%5.57%-36.99%28.83%17.26%
Bond start$150,000$156,743$158,279$125,581$139,976
Stock start$150,000$156,743$158,279$125,581$139,976
Bond End$156,540$167,746$166,431$133,166$149,117
Stock End$173,445$165,473$99,732$161,786$164,136
Total$329,985$333,220 $266,163$294,953$313,253
Withdrawal$16,499$16,661$15,000$15,000$15,663
Remaining Funds$313,486$316,559$251,163$279,953$297,590
Now there are tons of caveats to my proposal and ways of making changing withdrawal or investments to make either safer or giving you more spending money, but as starting place l I believe it is worth considering. I should point out that if you start out doing this 15 years ago you'd be withdrawing about $17,500 each year on the other hand if you started 10 years you have less than $300,000 in your portfolio, perhaps would run out of money in the next ~20 years.

To board regulars I realize I am ignoring inflation, not following the 4% SWR rule and making a few other changes, but I am trying to present a plausible alternative to 5% fixed index annuity that is simple to understand.
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:40 AM   #42
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Ralph,

Will you get unemployment? Are you debt free? Can you tighten your belt if you get laid off and get by on unemployment and some part of your savings [for a little while] until you have had time to develop a better understanding of your situation before you make a permanent decision?

BTW - all anyone is concerned about is that you make the best decision for you given your situation! The concern is that you may not be armed with the knowledge to make a decision. Decisions made under duress (not thought out) often lead to a poor decision.

How much income do you need to generate to live on if you get laid off?

for the short-term: [Income Needed] = Unemployment + [How Much from savings]

What is the [Income Needed] variable on an annual basis?

If you cannot answer that question... you do not know if you can stop working or if you have go right back out and get another job!

Do you know how much annual income you need?
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:23 AM   #43
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Clifp,

I think you have provided a very helpful example, and hope that Ralph will study it carefully before making any non-reversible decisions.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:35 AM   #44
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Ralph, take a very close look and consider carefully what Clifp posted - it is a reasonable option for you, and I don't see many others. As he said there are no guarantees in anything, but his 50/50 portfolio stands an excellent chance of working for you over the long haul.

Clifp: good stuff.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:13 AM   #45
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...
But what happens if the market tanks like it did in 2008? My income will go down but I really need $15,000 a year to get by. Well you have two choices the 100% safe choice is to take 5% no matter what. The slightly riskier approach is to set a floor on the minimum you withdrawal. In your case to be competitive with the annuity I'd suggest $15,000. So you spend from your nest egg either $15,000 or 5% of the remaining balance which ever is more.
...
To board regulars I realize I am ignoring inflation, not following the 4% SWR rule and making a few other changes, but I am trying to present a plausible alternative to 5% fixed index annuity that is simple to understand.

You intermediate solution sounds reasonable (assuming it meets his income needs).

Even if he had to take more than $15k for the first year to figure things out... getting his bearings is more important than making a hasty decision. [gotta do what ya gotta do!]


In the original trinity study. The market numbers are only up to 1995. But if a no inflation adjustment is taken, it indicates that 5% can be taken [from a 50/50 mix] with a high probability of success for 30 years [Tables 1 and 2]

Here is the study: Retirement Savings: Choosing a Withdrawal Rate That Is Sustainable


If Ralph qualifies for unemployment that will help out also.

One of the big expense he may have to cover is Medical. Assuming he has insurance where he works he should be able to use COBRA to continue those benefits (or if he is healthy he can shop for a more competitive plan).



Ralph... Medicare eligibility is at 65... In the mean time, coverage (depending on your health) could be expensive. Healthy or not... I would highly recommend that you maintain health insurance coverage so you do not jeopardize your nest egg. If you have a spouse, you need to factor her into the health care equation.
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fixed indexed annuity
Old 01-02-2011, 06:44 PM   #46
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fixed indexed annuity

Wow! So much to digest and educate myself on with your suggestions especially the Vanguard Total Stock Market Admiral Index Fund. Thanks for the info. But, now I have another problem. My boss called me today and told me not to come in til Wednesday. This has never happened in the 47 years I've worked for the company. Didn't sleep last night and I doubt that I'll get any tonight. So, the first thing I'm going to do tomorrow is head on over to SS to see where I stand. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Admiral Index Fund idea scares me a bit as it sounds a bit complicated. The biggest financial dealings I've ever had has been cashing my paycheck to put money into the checking account and getting a CD. Looks like unemployment is in my near future but I'm not going to get it with working a couple days a week. I'm just about to throw in the towel. My wife asked "why don't we just budget ourselves and start drawing on the $300,000? Put it into a money market (now 1.24% to get some interest) and draw $1,000 a month to supplement your SS at hopefully $1,300 a month. $12,000 a year. $120,000 in ten years. $240,000 in 20 years. We can last maybe 25 years if we live that long and when it runs out, sell the house and go to a retirement place". But I told her that inflation might shorten things up a bit. Guys/gals, I've learned (but too late) one thing in life....NEVER, NEVER work for a small business where there is no retirement and few benefits. I had a few chances to better myself with a job on the Norfolk & Western Railway 45 years ago but, I was happy doing what I was doing and passed on it. My wife was working then. We had money. Bought a house, new car plus things we wanted. Was able to save. Oh, what a fool I was.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:03 PM   #47
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Ralph, I would not do anything with your savings right now. Let the job situation play out until its end. What you main goal should be is to qualify for unemployment, sonce that will provide you with some income for the next couple of years. Worse comes to worse, you draw a little money from your stash to tide you over. You have a long term (rest of life) decision to make: don't rush it, especially during what will likely be an emotional time for.

And FWIW, you did OK financially, it seems to me. You saved a nice bundle and are rapidly learning what you need to to button things down for the next stage of your life. Give yourself some credit and a break.

Have you thought about what you want to do after the job is done? Any retirement dreams you want to pursue? Had enough of the OH winters (spent 6 years in Lorain County and Mom grew up in Canton)? Let's not forget the good things that will come out of this.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:24 PM   #48
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Ralph, not much to do with Vanguard. Just give them a call and open an account. Then you can transfer the $ over and put it in the MM fund. After things fall into place for you then you can move it around.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:40 PM   #49
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Ralph, not much to do with Vanguard. Just give them a call and open an account. The you can transfer the $ over and put it in the MM fund. After things fall into place for you then you can move it around.
That to me sounds like a great idea. The MM fund is a great place to park your money while you collect your thoughts.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:14 PM   #50
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Ralph,

Hang in there. I agree with Brewer. Do not make any rash decisions. Let the job situation play out.

You may be in better shape than you think. You just need to take your time working through the issue about what to do with your money.

You goal is to maximize the benefit of what you have already. As you stated, you and your wife will need a budget.

Unfortunately some of this can be a little confusing at first. But much of it will make more sense after you take a little time to look at it and think about it.

It sounds like you have two major sources of income for the long-term: You nest egg and SS.

Make sure you look at all of your options for SS. Here is an article about a fairly common strategy with SS and an illustration at the end. After you read the article, look at that SS projection statement that SS sends you periodically.

The 62/70 Solution - Forbes.com
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:00 PM   #51
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I just received the latest issue of Money magazine: Investor's Guide 2011 / Special Investing Double Issue / January Febraruy 2011.

Beginning on page 138, it is an article, The Safety trap, talking about Index Annuities, by Lisa Gibbs. Basically, it talks about the low returns, high commissions, and high penalty for early withdrawal. It offers a better alternative: 85% in CD, 15% in S&P 500 Index fund (VFINX).

I do not know how accurate this article is, but it provided me a better understanding of the potential pitfalls of this product.

Your local library may have this magazine.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:07 PM   #52
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These annuity-replacement deals come up from time to time but I'm not convinced they offer much more than a good diversified portfolio and a sensible SWR. Brewer has described one (recently re-discussed), FYI.

If I were to choose such an annuity alternative, I'd look at Vanguard's managed payout funds. But this is not part of my strategy, and they tend to hold about 75% equities, making AA a bit tricky. Consumer Reports mentions these funds in the must recent issue (favorably).
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:18 AM   #53
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The combined ignorance in this, and the other linked thread is just astounding. The internet continues to be a place run by lowest common denominator knowledge. God I hope you read this Ralph....

Seriously? You want this 64 year old guy with no pension (that obviously is not all that experienced or knowledgeable at investing) to expose HALF of his entire nest egg to an equity index? I can't even believe I need to explain why this is an absolutely awful idea (and for a LOT of reasons).

But since I obviously do, here's the biggest. When dealing with the US stock market, sure it's averaged 8-12% (depending who you ask) over a pretty long stretch of time. But in case anyone's noticed, the year after year returns aren't exactly like.... 7,9,12,6,10,8,9,8. No, here's 99-2009:

2009 27.11
2008 -37.22
2007 5.46
2006 15.74
2005 4.79
2004 10.82
2003 28.72
2002 -22.27
2001 -11.98
2000 -9.11
1999 21.11

Man. Let's hope no 64 year old's followed your advice in 2000, or 2007 (or in the 50's, the 70's, etc). Why does this matter? Basically put, and I can mathematically and graphically prove this if you'd like, the MOST important factor in determing how well a certain person's retirement does in a Monte Carlo simulation is whether or not they suffer losses in the years LEADING UP TO, and DIRECTLY FOLLOWING retirement. When graphed, it basically looks like a bell curve, so if you're 45 you can have your dollars pretty risky, when you're 65 you REALLY REALLY CAN'T, and if you're 85, you can actually be about as risky as you were at 45 (technically... you're money just isn't going to need to last all that much longer).

Basically put, if you just HAPPEN to turn 65 and dump half your money into the S&P right before a particularly nasty stretch of years, your chances of running out of money go absolutely through the roof. You don't have enough time, you're not earning any more, and meanwhile you're probably drawing off of your dollars monthly (reverse dollar-cost avg=bad). That line graph will take an absolute nose-dive. With that being the case, I think you can definitely argue that the absolute most important priority for someone 58-73 (or so) is to not put themselves in a position to lose 30-40% of their life savings.

And before you say "well it always comes back" be prepared to get linked to several articles that show the avg stock market investor return is closer to 3%, mainly due to things like emotional selling during turbulence. Let's say Ralph, who obviously isn't that experienced at investing, drops 150K into your vanguard index fund, and then proceeds to watch it drop to 90 over a couple years. Is there any chance that Ralph might do something rash and sell out near the low? Nah, probably not... that never happens.

Being 64, Ralph should have no more than 36% of his money in something which can lose value in any way whatsoever (rule of 100).

But he's half in bonds, which can't lose value (sorta). But remember, that face value can go down too. In November alone, 30 year US treasuries lost 8% of their current face value, and that's about the only security you're allowed to say is "risk-free." Sure you will get all your money back in 30 years, but if you wanted to sell today, you're out 8%, bud. So bonds don't pass the smell test for something that can't lose value.

Only things that pass the test:
CD's
US Savings Bonds
Annuities

I'm too tired to go into the absurd skepticism these threads have displayed towards the "Claims paying ability of the issuing company." But basically put, in my state alone, the State promises to back up to 500K in annuity dollars, that's if an insurer fails, and doesn't get gobbled up, and doesn't have its obligations covered by a healthy insurer (which is in all of their best interest to do). When's the last time the stock market lost 40%? When's the last time a US citizen had his annuity defaulted on? Guess which one was more recent.

Ralph, if an insurance company is saying, in writing, that it will do something, and you do your due diligence on the company you're buying from yadda yadda, you have about as guaranteed of a thing as you're going to find in this world. Shoot, the US government has mountains of debt - maybe IT will go bankrupt. Are you going to build a bomb shelter and stock up on guns?

Couple closing points. The thread is right that it's not a great time to buy a fixed annuity. Interest rates are at historic lows, and it makes very little sense to "lock-in" to a rate that is almost guaranteed to substantially rise within the next 5 years.

A couple directions to go for now: Bank CD 3-5 year. I'd put 65% in there, so 195K or so. For the other 35%, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to do half in the vanguard stock and half in the vanguard bond.

If you did want to go with an indexed annuity, find one with a lifetime income benefit rider - those rates are still decent sometimes. I did a quick calculator and if you deposited 200K on a LIBR rolling up at 7% compounding annually (available in my state) and didn't touch it for 10 years, you'd have around 25K a year guaranteed lifetime income when you turned it on. You could easily throw the other 100K in a 10 year term bank cd and draw it down while you wait for the annuity to ratchet up.
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:03 AM   #54
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Although I agree with you regarding CDs, US Saving Bonds and annuities (see my other postings), I do not believe starting your first post on this website with the sentence "The combined ignorance in this, and the other linked thread is just astounding.". Please kindly be respectful to those whose views may differ from yours. There is a wealth of information on this website, please use the "search" function. There will be no more message from me under this thread.

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The combined ignorance in this, and the other linked thread is just astounding.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:00 AM   #55
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Moose- some parts good analysis, but overall bad packaging.

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Old 01-08-2011, 08:01 AM   #56
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I'm too tired to go into the absurd skepticism these threads have displayed towards the "Claims paying ability of the issuing company." But basically put, in my state alone, the State promises to back up to 500K in annuity dollars, that's if an insurer fails, and doesn't get gobbled up, and doesn't have its obligations covered by a healthy insurer (which is in all of their best interest to do).
On the subject of gross ignorance (or perhaps malicuous spamming?), you should look very closely at the exact wording of the state guaranty fund coverage of your insurance contract(s). Details can be found via www.nolhga.com In short, the state does not back any insurance company products whatsoever, real or implied. It is a "guarantee association" funded (sort of) by the insurers doing business in that state. If a large insurer blows up with significant losses to policyholders, you would likely be getting the shaft.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:19 AM   #57
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Well anonymoose, as dumb as I am don't plan on spending any of my money. There's just something about annuity salespeople that rubs me the wrong way.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:25 AM   #58
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I agree with some of the arrogant a-hole's post. I would never recommend going all into either the bond or equity market, especially now. However, if the OP decided to invest that way, a slow DCA over a few years could smooth the ride significantly.

I do agree, as have most of the posters in this thread, that CDs are the way to go for now. And possibly a fixed annuity, although as has been pointed out it's a bad time to buy one. But what most of the people that responded have been trying to point out that the costs on an indexed annuity tend to be outrageous, and the benefits tremendously inflated. And this statement
Quote:
Ralph, if an insurance company is saying, in writing, that it will do something, and you do your due diligence on the company you're buying from yadda yadda, you have about as guaranteed of a thing as you're going to find in this world.
is nearly as misleading as what the annuity salesmen are saying. It's not what they tell you that you can count on, it's what they don't tell you that will come back and bite you. Maybe if the OP was a lawyer specializing in insurance and annuities he could read the "guarantee" and make sense of it. I know I couldn't, and he specifically said he doesn't know that much about financial matters yet.

Basically, despite the lowest common denominator ignorance, what the forum members have been saying is "wait, take some deep breaths, invest what you have very safely for the short term, look at your options while developing more knowledge, then make your best choice". But I'm glad someone smart came along to counter that bad advice.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:00 AM   #59
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Sorry for the "bad packaging" but it kinda pisses me off to see someone talk a 64 year old out of a guaranteed, relatively safe, and for all intents and purposes (having to see actual contract details) suitable investment and then cavalierly suggest he dump half his only money into the stock market. Sorry for not being "nicer" to the message board, but that advice could have some real consequences.

Also, it kinda pisses me off that you all have probably ruined any chance of him ever using any products from an insurance company, which would severely limit him of some excellent tools in his retirement years (annuities are the ONLY way to get a guaranteed income stream, life insurance is an excellent wealth transfer tool at death, and often can provide LTC protection on the same dollar). You all act like getting money from an insurance company is like getting back that 40 bucks you loaned your cousin. These companies aren't run from treehouses - every state has very specific rules for what insurers can and can't do with their balance sheets. AIG? Their insurance wing (American General) had plenty of cash through that whole crisis, and in fact, when AIG (parent company) tried to siphon some out, they got blocked by the state's insurance commissioner. They had to keep their reserve requirements for paying claims.

Through the worst recession in 75 years, how many people had their monthly annuity deposit not show up? You can disagree, and that's fine, but for MY due diligence, that right there passes the test. Even the badly rated companies did fine, stick with the well rated and... even better.

Finally I don't disagree at all that Ralph should probably wait and take a deep breath and do some research... when did I say THAT was bad advice? I specifically directed my criticism at the 50% equity index advice, and blanket bashing of insurance companies, annuities, etc.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:21 AM   #60
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annuities are the ONLY way to get a guaranteed income stream
SPIAs are one thing; EIAs are another. Many folks here have considered SPIAs as part of their retirement income planning (though not now; the interest rates are too low to make this a good time to buy a guaranteed income stream), but most can't see an EIA being a good move for a 64-year-old (or anyone, for that matter). An SPIA, on the other hand, could be for part of their retirement savings -- particularly if they aren't concerned about estate preservation.

And in my experience, the harder the sell, the worse the product being sold and the higher the fees to be made from the sale. Good products tend to sell themselves.
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