Shopping for annuities. First of all, understand that regardless of what you hear from an agent or an advisor, annuities are commodity products. There's not one annuity that's better than the other annuity, et cetera.
The first thing you need to understand is that there's not a one size fits all product, even though there are many people out there promoting that they have that. They do not. There are many types of annuities so it comes down to what you want to achieve. You need to ask two questions, and then we can figure out what type fits, and we'll find the best contractual guarantee for your specific situation.
Those two questions start with, what do you want the money to do contractually? Contractually. These are contracts. The second question is, when do you want those contractual guarantees to start? From those two answers, we can determine what type of annuity will provide the highest contractual guarantee for your specific situation.
For example, if lifetime income is the answer, and you need it to start either now or down the road, then we shop all carriers for that highest contractual guarantee. Now, the annuities quote market is very fluid. Quotes change every seven to 10 days,and go rotten like a gallon of milk. So you can't go in and go; “I want this company because I like their ads.” No. You go in looking for the highest contractual guaranteed number. Then from those contractually guaranteed numbers, we start filtering based on the claims-paying ability of the carrier based on your specific situation.
Understand that you need to go shopping for annuities like you're shopping for a plane ticket. If it's income, depending on whether you want to start now or down the road, we're going to need some pieces of information from you including date of birth or dates of birth if it's joint, your state of residence, and what type of account it is. If you're going to put a lump sum in, or if you want to solve for a specific monthly amount, we can reverse engineer that quote.
Once again, it’s a fluid market, things change. Some carriers will be on top for one week and won't be the following week. That's the reason you can't go into shopping for annuities with some preconceived notion that you need a specific carrier. What you need is the highest contractual guarantee. It's up to me and you to have that discussion to look at Best, Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, rating services. Then, I provide what's called a Comdex score that takes all four of those rating services and gives you a one to a 100 score.
So when you shop for annuities, the other thing that I would recommend is that when you are making decisions, make sure the agent or advisor, preferably me, shows you at least five to 10 different carriers that solve that specific situation. Do not allow them to show you one. Do not allow them to steer you to their product. And if they say, well, this one's the best, say, humor me, show them all to me. I want to see all the quotes. Because if annuity agents or advisors are limited on what they're showing and are limited on the carriers they represent, that's not a good thing.
If you have not caught it by now, I'm not some high-pressure dude. I'm not going to pound you on the table, call you, and email you. I'm just not. I'm going to treat you like a professional. The critical thing that I do is educate. I want to make sure that you understand these products’ benefits and limitations before you sign anything. You have to make the decision on your terms and on your timeframe, not anyone else's timeframe. It's your money; you’re in control of it.
Never forget to live in reality, not the dream, with annuities and contractual guarantees! You can use our calculators, get all six of my books for free, and most importantly book a call with me so we can discuss what works best for your specific situation.