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Low-rate environment means slower withdrawal pace: Study

February 10, 2013

Financial advisers who expect low interest rates to last might want to take a second look at clients' withdrawal rates during retirement. It seems that a 2.8% withdrawal rate over a retirement period of 30 years, with a 40% allocation to stocks,...

The magic withdrawal number in a low-interest-rate retirement? You'll be surprised

February 7, 2013

If you're planning for low interest rates to last, you might want to take a second look at your clients' withdrawal rates in retirement. It seems that a 2.8% withdrawal rate over a retirement period of 30 years, with a 40% allocation to stocks,...

Mary Beth Franklin: Clients get two-fer when they postpone Social Security

February 7, 2013

I received a great question from a reader in Wheeling, Ill., the other day. Tom turned 66 in November 2011 and filed a restricted claim to limit his Social Security benefits to spousal benefits only when his wife began collecting her reduced...

ICI survey: Americans back tax breaks for retirement savings

February 6, 2013

Just as President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to close tax loopholes and deductions to reduce the deficit, a major financial markets trade association is touting a survey that shows a majority of Americans don't want lawmakers to change...

ING to cough up $5.2 million in Labor Department settlement

February 4, 2013

The Labor Department has ordered ING Life Insurance and Annuity Co. to pay $5.2 million to 1,400 retirement plan clients for failure to disclose the company's practice of holding onto any investment gains that resulted from transactions that...

Q&A: Morningstar's David Blanchett

February 3, 2013

David Blanchett, head of retirement research at Morningstar Investment Management, has watched the popularity of variable annuities ebb and flow over the past two decades. The 2008 market collapse and recession helped make variable annuities'...

Analysts wary of PE annuities

February 3, 2013

Private-equity firms' appetite for insurance companies and their annuity businesses is starting to worry debt analysts. Companies such as Athene Holding Ltd., Guggenheim Partners LLC and Harbinger Capital Partners have consumed a veritable buffet...

Are VA settlements a good deal?

February 3, 2013

More financial advisers can expect to find themselves and their clients weighing offers to buy out the variable annuities they purchased years ago. The buyouts, which boost a VA holder's account balance in exchange for dropping a lifetime income...

Back to square one

February 3, 2013

Phil Zins, 64, hasn't been retired for very long, but he, his wife, Mary, 62, and their adviser already have taken their retirement income plan back to the drawing board. The problem wasn't with the strategy that Sarah J. Kaelberer, their adviser...

Fee-based products attract attention

February 3, 2013

Variable annuities have always been a tough sell to registered investment advisers. They're complicated, they're costly and they're usually sold on a commission basis. “I never felt comfortable with variable annuities,” said David D'Amico,...

Americans want to prop up Social Security — but not on their backs

January 31, 2013

A majority of the American public supports preserving, and even enhancing, existing Social Security benefits, even if it means raising payroll taxes on working-age Americans. A new survey, released Thursday by the nonpartisan National Academy...

Private-equity jumping into annuities could be bad news for insurers

January 29, 2013

Private-equity firms' appetite for annuity business and takeover targets is starting to worry debt analysts. Companies like Guggenheim Partners LLC, Athene Holding Ltd. and Harbinger Capital Partners have consumed a veritable buffet of annuity...

Retirement income shortcuts not always best route

January 29, 2013

When faced with thorny, complex problems, we all want simple, easy-to-understand solutions. That is especially true when those difficult issues are emotionally charged. For example, trying to sort out your various retirement goals and developing...

Financial planning firm dragged into NBA union firestorm

January 29, 2013

Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, purged family members from union roles after a report was critical of nepotism at the organization. The moves dismissing personnel including his daughter and daughter-in-law...

New regs leave 401(k) biz 'wide open' for advisers

January 28, 2013

When it comes to retirement plans, more-stringent regulations could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for financial advisers. The Labor Department released tougher rules for fee disclosure last summer and is expected to release a re-proposed...

MetLife's math tweaks VA sales

January 27, 2013

Financial advisers who have been fans of MetLife Inc. aren't the only ones who will be affected by the company's decision to cut its variable annuity income benefit to 4%. Other major VA manufacturers and financial planners also are watching...

IRS gives employers a break

January 27, 2013

Long-awaited proposed regulations from the Internal Revenue Service have resolved questions about a key health care reform law provision that would impose stiff penalties on employers not offering coverage. “Certainty is what employers clamored...

Factoring a child's benefit into a claiming strategy

January 27, 2013

When I speak to consumers and financial advisers about strategies for claiming Social Security, I often joke about the “Viagra College Fund.” That is how I refer to the provision of Social Security benefits to a dependent child when a parent...

On retirement policy, don't mess with success

January 27, 2013

America's fiscal challenges have led some to contemplate an alarming course reversal on the policies that help ensure retirement security for working Americans. In the hunt for revenue, Washington could target the tax deferral on compensation...

Social Security goes fully paperless

January 27, 2013

Financial advisers were among the most vocal critics when the Social Security Administration first suspended mailing annual benefit statements to workers as a cost-saving measure in mid-2011. The mailing of these documents that are so crucial...

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