Spill Proof Your Retirement

By Terry A Dennis, MSFS, MGA, AFMORetirement PlanningFOXBusiness

My mother is nearly 80 years old. She’s a great lady who enjoys good health and stays quite active. Some would call her a bit high strung, but I think she’s a hoot! Whenever I call to see how she’s doing, we always end up laughing about something.

However, it wasn’t always this way. During the holidays as a kid, I remember being at the dinner table when one of us kids would inevitably spill something. She would let out this tremendous gasp, as if Frankenstein just jumped at her from behind the refrigerator! She’d jump up from the table, race to the paper towels and be back to the table before anyone had a chance to blink. Even with the mess cleaned up, she had to calm herself down from the ‘tableside trauma.’

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Over the years, I’ve come to understand that many of us are like that when it comes to our retirement savings. Like mom’s great holiday meals, we care very much about it. We spend a long time making it just right only to see something “spill” during the most important time, our retirement. This can have a detrimental, even devastating, effect on our retirement income.

The good news is that we can actually “spill proof” our retirement accounts. Not only can we protect them, but we can also create significant gains without taking losses. It’s easy to do, no matter what type of retirement accounts we may have currently. Let me explain.

Let’s say my mom’s $500,000 nest egg was invested over the last 13 years (1999-2012). As we all remember, the markets have some big losing years during this period of time. Some have even termed 2000-2010 as “the lost decade” for investors due to the real loss of overall returns. However, as the market had its ups and downs, her retirement accounts only gained in value. They experienced no principal losses at all. This is because these accounts are only indexed to the markets and participate only in the gains of those indices. Because they are not being risked in an unprotected market, they don’t lose value when the market takes a downturn. They have a protective floor under each dollar and guarantee our retirement accounts from market losses. This guarantees and maintains our principal values and helps insure the best future retirement income possible. No surprises or spills.

Incredibly, this scenario produced up to $222,000 more in my mom’s retirement account value! This translates into higher retirement incomes that are guaranteed to last a lifetime. Some incomes even increase annually, and once they do, they never decrease. It’s guaranteed lifetime income that can go up but never go down!

Given these powerful facts, you must ask yourself some questions about your most important monies. Do I really want to worry about how to manage risk while enjoying my retirement? Why manage risk and pay for losses when I don’t have to? When the markets correct, how much of my nest egg can I afford to lose? How will those losses affect the retirement I’ve worked so hard for?

These amazing accounts are issued and managed by some of the world’s largest money managers. Your money is made safe by contractual guarantees and is never at risk. Because you’re not paying for risk and cannot take principal losses, your retirement income may be significantly greater. These great incomes are designed to never go down and never run out, even if your principal does. Many provide extra income to help pay for qualifying health events,  even if you decide to stay at home. Some provide guaranteed benefits for our beneficiaries. In fact, these powerful, safe accounts pass what I affectionately call, “the mom test.” This means if they’re good enough for my mom, they’re good enough for you and yours. Perhaps their greatest benefit is the tremendous peace of mind we get from having our retirement monies protected for life!

Mom has long retired now, but when she approached me years ago about creating her own best retirement account, she shared three main, common concerns:

1. Don’t lose it or I’ll move in with you. 2. Make sure it lasts as long as I do. Remember, your grandmother lived to be 97. 3. Give me some extra when I want it.

No worries, mom. Enjoy your retirement. Your money is “spill proof.”

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