Mark Iwry: Retirement Visionary & QLAC Champion
About Fun With Annuities Episode #140
Mark Iwry has been called “A UNIQUELY POWERFUL Washington wonk.” A hero of our retirement system. A pension rock star. One of the world’s 30 top financial players. A legend. An inspiration. It was a pleasure to have Mark on my Fun With Annuities podcast to discuss his work in the retirement category and the creation of the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC).
As you may already know, I was the first to publish a book on QLACs right after they were introduced in 2014. That was the genesis of how Mark and I initially connected. I still hold on to an earlier prediction that QLACs will eventually be the top-selling annuity type because every single person with an IRA should consider owning one.
Mark has received praises from a variety of publications and people, along with awards for leadership, achievement, and innovation from organizations that typically don’t agree on much: workers’ rights groups, the payroll industry, the financial services industry, the IRS, the small business community, investment advisors, pension professionals, and others. Just to pile on, Harvard Kennedy School is adding its Alumni Public Service Award for Iwry’s work to strengthen the economic security of working families. Wow!
Iwry (pronounced “Eevry”) has always wanted to channel his idealism into achieving public good….and as he says, “in the tradition of my forefathers, ‘tikkun olam’—repairing the world,” whose father was a Biblical archaeologist and Ancient Near East scholar active in the underground in World War II and who is descended from the legendary 18th-century rabbi who founded the Hasidic movement in Judaism. We spoke briefly about his father’s work and how that has motivated Mark to pursue his pioneering work.
In 2011, The Wall Street Journal’s magazine, Smart Money, recognized Iwry as one of the world’s 30 “Top Financial Players” (along with German Chancellor Merkel, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, and the CEOs of BlackRock, Vanguard, JPMorgan Chase, Apple, Google, and AARP), concluding their profile of Iwry with, “Who says nice guys finish last?” I totally agree with that portrait of Mark. He is a mad smart guy with a very big heart.
Since leaving government at the close of the Obama administration, Iwry, currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and visiting scholar at the Wharton School, continues to pursue these and other policy reforms and market innovations, confident that the best is yet to come.
You are going to enjoy this podcast and hearing my “street smarts” interact with Mark’s “book smarts.” It’s a definite fun ride.
In this episode, The Annuity Man and Mark Iwry discuss:
- What is a QLAC?
- One of the best features of a QLAC
- Structuring a QLAC with cash refund
- Why QLACs aren’t popular
- A QLAC or a Quality Longevity Annuity Contract is a deferred annuity that’s helpful for people trying to save for retirement and want security in retirement in the form of a guaranteed lifetime income. You don’t have to worry about Required Minimum Distribution rules when you buy deeply deferred annuities.
- One of the best things about the QLAC is that it allows you to take your personal IRA and attach your spouse as a lifetime income participant. Meaning when you pass away, your spouse will benefit.
- QLACs can be structured with cash refund, which means that the annuity company will not keep your money when you die even though they are on the hook to keep paying you while you are breathing.
- The reason why QLACs are unpopular is because it’s such a simple and straightforward product that it isn’t as profitable for the company as it is for their other products. There’s no room for agents to attach bells and whistles that cost their clients extra.
"People need health security, and they need retirement security. We have social security, and we have Medicare to take care of those two things. On top of Social Security, we've got our private pension system, and on top of Medicare, we've got our private health care system. " — Mark Iwry
Connect with Mark Iwry:
Fun With Annuities® Podcast is hosted by America’s Annuity Agent®, Stan Haithcock, The Annuity Man®. Hear brutal annuity facts with no sales pitches from the top independent agent in the country, licensed in all 50 states. Author of 7 books, Stan dives deep on all annuity types and strategies. It’s fun, learning the contractual truths on how annuities actually work and if they’ll fit your personal retirement lifestyle.