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Belt & Suspenders Annuity Strategies: Shootin' It Straight With Stan

Stan Haithcock
February 14, 2024
Belt & Suspenders Annuity Strategies: Shootin' It Straight With Stan

Welcome to Shootin' It Straight With Stan. I'm your host, Stan The Annuity Man, America's annuity agent, licensed in all 50 states. Today's topic is a great one, coming from the deep south of where I grew up in Charlotte, North Cackalacky. North Carolina, actually, the town, seriously, and I'm not kidding, look it up, it's called Stanley, North Carolina, just like it sounds, S-T-A-N-L-E-Y, and I'm going to tell you right now, it was named after me. It should be, but it wasn't. But that's where I grew up. Stanley, North Carolina, Gaston County.

But this topic is a good one. It's belt and suspenders annuity strategies. And you go, "Wait a minute, Stan, what? Belt and suspenders?" Well, for all of you who remember suspenders, when I was in Wall Street and looking really dapper, going to work in New York at Morgan Stanley, I had the suspenders. I was looking pretty suave, okay? But I don't do that anymore. But we all have that uncle who shows up to the family reunion wearing a belt and suspenders. If you go to, I don't want to mention some of the large, big box retailers out there, some of those places, or my favorite restaurant in the world, Waffle House. If you don't know where that is, you haven't driven on I-95 yet, and it is truly my favorite restaurant on the planet. To work at Waffle House and be a chef, you need to be a Mensa-level mental person because, if you've ever heard the orders being yelled at by the waitresses and waiters to the cooks, there's not a person watching this that can do that, unless you've been a Waffle House cook. And there's not one of you because they're like a code, and they'll give seven straight orders, and they all get them right, and it comes out perfectly.

‌But the belt and suspenders strategy is my uncle Chester showing up to the Garrison Family reunion. That's my mother's side of the family. Also, underneath Abernathys, we were Abernathys and Garrisons, right? So, at the Abernathy-Garrison reunion, Uncle Chester shows up with a belt and suspenders because he wants to make sure that the pants don't fall. And thank God for that because we don't want to see that. Nobody wants to see that. But belt and suspenders, I always looked at the belt and suspenders as a kid and said, "Well, that's repetitive, and why is he doing it? Why would he go with suspenders? Or why wouldn't he go with the belt?" And on Wall Street, if someone showed up with the belt and suspenders, they would've been roasted. They'd have been made fun of, paraded around, put on the trading floor desk, and yelled at.

‌This is a true story. The first day on Wall Street, I came from, I mean literally, I came from no money, so I didn't know much then. I was a basketball player in college, and boy, could I shoot the rock. But the point is, the first day, I show up in a short-sleeved dress shirt, which is a misnomer; it doesn't make sense. They literally roasted me and walked me down to the, I guess it was Brooks Brothers downstairs, which I didn't have the money to buy, and my manager just put it on his card, just said, "Please buy him clothing because that's ridiculous." But I didn't know. My parents bought me short-sleeved dress shirts. So, the belt and suspenders annuity strategy hits home. Why? And I'm going to tell you there are a couple of ways that I look at belt and suspender annuity strategies.

‌State Guaranty Fund

‌Let me tell you the first one. The first is when people look at the state guaranty fund; if you want to look at it, it's on You can see, for Fixed Annuities, each state has a specific rule in place to protect you and protect your money in case something happens to the carrier, which we're not going to recommend that carrier anyway because we do look at the financials of the carriers and take that very serious. But if you're saying, "I don't care what you say, Stan. I want a belt and suspenders," then what we'll do is we'll look at the state guaranty fund, and let's say you wanted to buy three annuities, we'd buy them underneath that state guaranty fund. That's what I call the belt and suspenders strategy.

‌Client Example

‌I had a call recently, and the person always asks me, "What do you think about state guaranty funds?" I'm like, "Yeah, it's not FDIC. It's not SIPC. It falls underneath those from a safety standpoint, and you really should be buying the Claims-Paying Ability of the annuity carrier, the life insurance company's best issue, and the annuities from the standpoint of safety." And I honestly think that the true safety of the annuity industry is the industry itself policing itself. In other words, companies buy other companies and make sure the golden goose of confidence isn't gored and goes away because, once it does, it's over. In other words, if my mom didn't get an annuity payment one month, she'd be on national news saying, "I'm going to tell you something about those annuity companies. They didn't give me my money." It'd be game over. And the annuity companies know that they do not want my mom on national television, on NBC Nightly News, going, "I ain't get my annuity payment." They don't want that.

‌But regardless of me weighing in with my 30-plus years of experience on buying the carrier's strength and not worrying about the state guaranty fund, a lot of you out there are going, "I ain't listening to you. I'm going to do that belt and suspenders thing." And that's okay, but on a recent call, this person said not only do they want A++ carriers, the top of the line, top tier, they wanted A++ carriers. They wanted to buy multiple annuities, different carriers, and under the state guaranty fund.

‌More Regulated Than Banks

‌That's the ultimate belt and suspenders annuity strategy, which is that you're getting the coverage of the state guaranty fund, which has never been truly tested in a chaotic world. That's a good thing. Kudos to the annuity industry. I always tell people life insurance companies that issue annuities aren't smarter than banks. They're just more regulated than banks. In other words, they're not allowed to do stupid things. They're handcuffed for financial stupidity, which is good because you and I both know, regardless of the good intentions of anyone in charge, when it's not really their money, they start making stupid decisions unless they're regulated into being smart, which they then take full credit for. That's the first way to do belt and suspenders, which is to buy a good carrier and then buy the dollar amount underneath the state guaranty fund or within the state guaranty fund rules. Again, if you want to look up your state. No, I do not have every single state memorized, even though I'm licensed in all 50 states. But I don't do that because I don't. Come on. That's crazy.

‌Annuity Types

‌But the other way to do belt and suspenders annuity strategies, there's a lot of people out there that go, "I'd never bought an annuity, Stan, because an annuity," and they think there's only one type, and there's like 10, "An annuity if I die, the annuity company keeps the money. I don't want that. That's not fair. That's the reason I hate all annuities." I'm like, "You hate Social Security?" "Well, no." "Well, that's an annuity." "Hate your pension?" "Well, no." "Well, that's an annuity."

‌But for belt and suspender strategies for lifetime income, four different types of annuities provide lifetime income. And then, there's annuities for principal protection or legacy or long-term care, which means there's a lot of annuity types, but for the people out there that believe that the evil annuity company, they're going to keep the money, the belt and suspenders annuity strategy would be life with cash refund or joint life with cash refund, life with installment refund or joint life with installment refund or life with a long-term period certain or joint life with long-term period certain long-term, meaning 20, 30 years. What does that do?


‌It covers your life as long as you're breathing, joint life, as long as one of you is breathing. It will pay; I call it ventilator annuities as long as you're on a ventilator and breathing. But when your Learjet hits the mountain, your big truck hits the tree, your skateboard flips, and you hit your head. Don't skate, please, okay? When that happens, you can structure lifetime income so that 100% of any unused money goes 100% to the list of beneficiaries of the policy and not a penny to the evil life insurance company that issued the annuity. "The annuity company is going to keep the money," that's garbage, in French.

Now, can you structure some annuities life only, meaning that you hate your beneficiaries and want the highest payment, and when you Learjet the mountain, money goes poof, and you don't care? Sure, that's misanthropic annuity strategies. I should do one on that for all you misanthropes out there. But belt and suspenders mean that you've got triple-dee, dippity-duppity coverage. You've got super-dee-duper. That's Barney. Remember him? When my kids were growing up, they watched Barney, that purple elephant thing for kids. That always seemed weird to me, man. I would watch that and listen to him. There's some goober inside there. That just rang, too, but he'd say, "That's super-dee-duper."

But that's a super-dee-duper belt and suspenders annuity strategy because if you want to get fancy, you do a suitable carrier. You do it under the state guaranty fund, and then you do a cash refund, installment refund, or a long-term period certain attached to the lifetime income component. That's a belt and suspenders with duct tape around the middle. That's triple-dee-duper. I'd love to see that. I would love to see my Uncle Chester walk into the Garrison-Abernathy. Abernathy. I love that name, family reunion, were, seriously, some of the best food on the planet. Can we get an annuity Amen on old school family reunion food?

Woo, man, it was worth being cornered by Chester talking politics to eat that stuff that was being made there by my grandmother and my aunts. My gosh. That kind of food is unbelievable. But I would've loved it if you'd walked in belt and suspenders and then duct tape around the belt. Then, I would've said, "Chester, I'm serious. I love what you're doing. I love the look." In fact, I may have started a trend right there. What I'm trying to convey to you is that you can protect yourself and your hard-earned money in myriad ways. You can protect it by buying very good companies. You can protect it by buying underneath the state guaranty fund within your state, again, . Then, you can protect it one more time with lifetime income by structuring the policy so that 100% of any unused money goes to your family or whoever is listed as a beneficiary. I'm assuming it's family; it could be anybody, but whoever you list as the beneficiaries of the policy will get whatever is left over of that amount in the annuity account.

If you live forever and you live to 155, there's going to be nothing in the account, and there's going to be no death benefit, but it doesn't matter because you're 155 years old. Hello. But you can structure it, so the evil annuity company doesn't keep a penny. You can structure it so that, if something happens to the company, the state and the state guaranty fund are on the hook to pay.

That's belt and suspenders annuity strategies. And I hope I've evoked some memories of those really cool family reunions with that delicious food that your Aunt Martha made. Your Aunt Martha made the peach cobbler, and you wanted to fight over it. You stuck something in your coat as you're leaving. Like, "Yeah, I'm taking, no, I'm taking the peach cobbler."

On a serious note, my last meal will involve a peach cobbler. And you know what I'm talking about. Not the crumbles. No, the bread, the hard bread. That is unbelievable. I'll leave you with this story. It's a peach cobbler story.

I went on some family trip when the kids were young, and we're up in the mountains in North Carolina, and they sent me out to say, "Hey, Stan, can you go get some dessert or something?" And I'm driving through the mountains, and I stumble across this barbecue restaurant, and they were selling a pan, full pans of cobbler. So, you're saying, "I know you, Stan, you do nothing in moderation. How many did you buy?" I bought two full pans. I bought a blueberry cobbler and a peach cobbler. An army and an entire team of football players couldn't have eaten it all, but we sure as heck tried. But that's how much I love peach cobbler. If you've got those recipes or see me out there in the hinterlands, buy me some peach cobbler.

But I also want you to remember belt and suspenders annuity strategies so you can have your cobbler and eat it, too. Forget cake. You can have your cobbler and eat it with belt and suspenders annuity strategies. My name is Stan The Annuity Man. Wasn't that a fun ride? I'm America's annuity agent if you don't know, and yes, I am licensed in all 50 states. That was Shootin' It Straight with Stan. See you next week.

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