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Mr. FIA-X: The Truth About Fixed Index Annuity Returns

Stan Haithcock
December 6, 2022
Mr. FIA-X: The Truth About Fixed Index Annuity Returns

About Fun With Annuities Episode #134

The infamous and anonymous Mr. FIA-X joined the Fun With Annuities podcast once again to shine the light on Fixed Index Annuity returns factually.

We started off the podcast with both of us going on the record that we are fans of the FIA strategy, but are sickened by how too many agents pitch this product. “Market upside with no downside” or “market participation with principal protection” is the often-used catchphrases to overhype and oversell FIAs to the masses. This is not only tragic but unfortunate.

Mr. FIA-X dove right in on the “made up” indexes that carriers create out of thin air to back-test a hypothetical return scenario that never comes true but looks great on paper. His logical idea is to only back-test that index for as long as that index has been in existence. That’s a common sense approach that will never happen.

With over 750 index option choices available with FIAs, most agents can’t explain how the product works and don’t disclose that the carriers can change those caps, spreads, and participation rates at their discretion. It’s a muddied soup of sales nonsense and shiny things to distract the consumer from focusing on the contractual guarantees of the policy.

The S&P 500 index is Mr. FIA-X’s choice when purchasing a Fixed Index Annuity. His reasons for this are solid and worth listening to the back and forth. Mr. X is a good friend, and we always have fun informing and educating the public on this complex strategy.

I’m a big fan of using FIAs as an efficient and cost-effective delivery system for attaching income riders for guaranteed lifetime income starting at a future date. As for the accumulation part of FIAs, I’m still waiting for a carrier to come out with a simple pro-consumer product that can be easily understood by the consumer and explained to a 9-year-old. No offense to 9-year-olds.

If you have heard me and Mr. FIA-X go at it before, you will love this one. It’s an instant Fun With Annuities classic. Enjoy.

"[On backtested numbers] You know the old saying ’past performance is not indicative of current results’. They didn't even have a past performance. It was a made-up performance." — Mr. FIA-X.

In this episode, The Annuity Man and Mr. FIA-X discuss:

  • Questions to ask your annuity agent
  • Backtested numbers are garbage
  • Index Annuities are not bad products
  • When building for accumulation

Key Takeaways:

  • Ask what the participation rate is and when it can change. Annuity companies can change the rules, as they need to have some way to protect themselves. It’s important to know those rules. Next, ask the agent to explain the index, what’s in it, and the math behind it.
  • You need to know when the index rate went live or when it can be tracked. Everything prior to the live date is BS; your annuity will not function like the back-tested illustration they show you.
  • Index annuities hold contractual guarantees too. However, agents make a lot of money from selling index annuities, so some will say anything they need to to get clients to buy.
  • If your goal is accumulating wealth, invest in the S&P500, never look at it, and keep contributing.

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.

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