“What is the difference in Fixed Annuities, Fixed Indexed Annuities*, Immediate Annuities, and Variable Annuities?”
A Fixed Annuity provides a guaranteed interest rate for a specific number of years in order to protect you from market fluctuations. These fixed interest rate periods are offered over a 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10-year period, as well as a variety of annuitization payout options - including the option for guaranteed income for life. The Fixed Annuity can help you conservatively accumulate assets to help cover fixed living expenses in retirement.
A Fixed Indexed Annuity combines a guaranteed minimum interest rate plus market participation for the opportunity for greater earnings. At the end of each contract year, the insurance company measures the growth of the linked index over the previous 12 months and then credits your contract value with that growth, up to a predetermined cap. A Fixed Indexed Annuity is designed to work in any type of market environment. Whether up, down, or flat, the Fixed Indexed Annuity provides downside protection and the potential for gains linked to the performance of a market index. As long as you abide by the terms of the contract, your principal is guaranteed against market loss from day one, and your interest gains lock in each year on your contract anniversary and cannot be taken away in a future market downturn.
With an Immediate Annuity, you use a lump sum of money to purchase a contract from an insurance company in return for a guaranteed series of payouts. This stream of income is guaranteed for a specified period of time or for the rest of your life (and even your spouse's) no matter how long you live. The amount of payout is based on several factors: the payout option you choose, your life expectancy, which is based on your current age and gender, the interest rate environment at the time you purchase the contract, etc.
A Variable Annuity is comprised of professionally managed portfolios that vary in both investment objectives and representative holdings. You may allocate your purchase payments across any number of these portfolios in whatever percentage you choose, with regard for your financial objectives and tolerance for market risk. Taxes on earnings from these portfolios are not taxed until distributed.
Question #2 (four part question)
"Who should have a living trust?”
Age, marital status, and wealth don't really matter. If you own titled assets and want your loved ones (spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents) to avoid court interference at your death or incapacity, you should probably have a living trust. You may also want to encourage other family members to have one so you won't have to deal with the courts at their incapacity or death as well.
"Are living trusts a new type of trust?
No, living trust have been used successfully for hundred of years.
"Is a living will the same as a living trust?”
No. A living trust is for financial affairs. A living will is for medical affairs. It lets others know how you feel about life support in terminal situations.
"Should I have an attorney do my trust?”
Yes, but you need the right attorney. A local attorney who has considerable experience in living trusts and estate planning will be able to give you valuable guidance and peace of mind that your trust is prepared and funded properly.
"What is Estate Planning?”
Estate Planning typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. Through the use of trusts and designated beneficiary forms on life insurance policies and annuity contracts, etc., you are able to plan for the future and have your wishes carried out at a time when you may not be able to oversee such endeavors.
"What if I never plan to spend a day in a nursing home, why do I need long-term care?”
Let's face it, no one PLANS or WANTS to spend any time in a nursing home! Unfortunately, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, 50% of U.S. citizens will end up spending some portion of their lives in a nursing home. After you reach the age of 65 that statistic jumps up to 70%!
Today there are long-term care companies that offer three levels of care. In-home care, assisted care, and nursing home care. If you should pass away and never need to use the coverage, there are now companies that offer beneficiary packages very similar to life insurance contracts.
*Product describes is a Fixed Index annuity, limitations, fees and restrictions may apply. May not be suitable for all investors. Guarantees backed by the claims paying ability of the insurer.