A family history of longevity is a wonderful thing, but it can raise financial concerns. That was why one couple sought help from Dan White, founder of Daniel A. White & Associates, an advisory firm in Glen Mills, Pa. The husband was 68, the wife 64, and both came from families where a long life was the rule. They wanted a way to keep their retirement savings of $800,000 growing, without too much investment risk, so they could maintain their modest lifestyle. If they had something left to pass on to their kids, all the better.
White considered and discarded some of the more typical approaches. A portfolio of dividend-producing stocks didn’t have the right principal protection, nor was the income guaranteed. A bondcentric approach carried significant interest rate risks. While an annuity offered steady income, growth and risk protection, a single annuity simply wasn’t as flexible as White wanted. His solution: multiple annuities.
An annuity “ladder” provides investors with a measure of flexibility in their income streams while guaranteeing the safety of their principal, White believes. The money is still locked away but, he says, proper planning can ensure clients keep enough outside of the ladder to meet their liquidity needs.
Besides, it is protecting principal, not liquidity, that is the chief concern for most of his clients. “Once you hit retirement you can’t afford to lose any money,” White says.
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