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Holiday Greetings

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I hope this message finds all of you well and gearing up nicely for the holidays! It’s not too cold up here in New Hampshire; we got our first snow a month or so ago but none since. I’m not looking forward to shoveling (perhaps one year Santa will put that snow blower under the tree for me) but it is good exercise…

The year is almost over, and it’s been an interesting one. Annuity sales are going gangbusters – especially on the fixed side – and the industry is getting more exposure than ever. The media has helped that process along. We will certainly be finishing with new annual sales record.

There are some clouds on the horizon (the new DOL rule comes to mind), but in this post I’ll accentuate the positive. In my view the industry is in a great position to leverage its recent success to promote the lifetime income story of the annuity. Most purchasers are still focused on asset accumulation and protection but now that the industry has “gotten their attention” in the form of increased sales, efforts should be made to increase awareness about the income phase.

I think the biggest obstacle to greater use of annuities for income purposes is the perceived lack of control investors will have over their assets. It’s an age-old problem. At this point I don’t think new income riders or related strategies need to be devised. I think now it’s more about changing attitudes and what would help would be more real-life examples of how annuity income taking works – whether through traditional annuitization or GLWB withdrawals – to give clients some actual scenarios they can mull over.

There’s reason for optimism. If the industry can find new ways to communicate with clients – without resorting to fear mongering or gimmickry – that will go a long way towards ensuring the long-term viability of the annuity business.

With that, I will bid you all a very happy and health holiday season.

PS: this year I was doing better at regular blogging but over the latter part of the year I got sidetracked; in 2024 I hope to follow through on my goal of posting once a month…we shall see how I do…SM

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