Insights & Advice

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Should I buy an annuity?

Bill,

I read your article from last year on annuities and wondered if anything has changed. A broker I have a small IRA with (as well as a broker working with a local bank) is touting immdiate annuities as a beneficial income stream as I get close to retirement (I am 62). My wife and I have cash in the bank making next to nothing and looking for a low to moderate risk for return.

We are also looking at this as a way to roll over an old whole life policy with good cash value but if we take the cash we pay tax on the earnigs. The cash portion earned under 4% last year.

What might be better alternatives as CDs are not paying much either?

Dear John,

DO NOT buy an annuity. At your age you will be trapped into holding a low paying, extremely expensive security that will not help your retirement one bit.

I suggest you look at GNMA Funds. Every fund family offers at least one of them. The fund managers invest in only GNMA bonds that are guaranteed by the U.S. government, which are yielding about 4.5% right now. The price will fluctuate along with short term interest rates but not nearly as much as a longer term bond fund or a stock fund.

You could also consider a municipal bond fund if you are worried about taxes. There are hundreds to choose from or you can simply buy a national muni exchange traded fund (MUB) which will invest in a spectrum of funds around the country. MUB is presently yielding 3.66%. I hope that helps.

Posted in A Few Dollars More, Q & A with Bill