Lifetime Income Vs. Outliving Your Money
Kelli Hueler, CEO and founder of Hueler Companies, a stable value consulting and data research firm, remembers when it first struck her. The next big risk for U.S. investors wasn’t a dramatic market decline, but longevity: people living longer and outliving their money.
It was 1999 and she was in Japan speaking at an institutional investment conference about the role of stable value investments in the U.S. defined contribution system. As part of the trip she met with insurers. Against the backdrop of a zero interest rate environment and an aging Japanese population, they were facing significant challenges. She realized that in the near future, the United States would be in a similar aging demographic situation.
“Millions of American baby boomers would reach retirement age and would be worrying about outliving their money. We knew people needed to be looking at this issue.” — Kelli Hueler, CEO and Founder, Hueler Companies
Alliance Benefit Group Partners With Income Solutions®
As a result of the identification of that rapidly approaching longevity issue, Income Solutions®, an annuity purchase platform developed by Hueler Investment Services, was created. Income Solutions® enables plan sponsors, financial advisors and plan participants to compare a variety of income annuity options from high quality, well-known insurers. Quotes are provided in real time and in a standardized format that allows for apples-to-apples comparisons. Purchases can be made directly from the site if the participant chooses to proceed.
From Ms. Hueler’s perspective, “Working with Alliance Benefit Group is a fantastic opportunity to provide plan sponsors, administrators and financial advisors with a user-friendly resource for creating a low-cost lifetime income stream for participants who are transitioning to retirement.”
How it Works – A Flexible, Online Platform
Income Solutions® is available to plan sponsors, plan administrators, financial advisors and participants and offers a variety of alternatives for lifetime income and for creating what Kelli Hueler refers to as “personal pension plans.”
Through incomesolutions.com, participants and their financial advisors are able to determine what level of income can be achieved based upon:
- Type of annuity
- Investment amount
- Investment timeframe
A solution can then be customized based upon that participant’s specific needs. Income Solutions® non-commissioned, licensed professionals are available to help both the participant and their advisor by guiding them through the process and answering any questions they may have. This important resource is available without any sales pressure from annuity providers.
Rigorous Screening for High Quality Annuity Providers
Before insurers can be included on the Income Solutions® platform they are subject to a rigorous and objective, institutionally-oriented screening process. The Hueler team brings more than 25 years of experience to the process and starts by identifying annuity providers that are ranked A level or better by A.M. Best. Financial data is then reviewed and the team incorporates company balance sheet analysis and modeling by an outside firm into their evaluation.
In addition, Income Solutions® is fee-sensitive and requires each insurer to charge their lowest level of commission. The goal is to foster competition among a group of high-quality insurers. Product selection is objective and independent. The program is a “no pay-to-play “ platform, so there is no payment by insurers to be on the Income Solutions® platform.
Annuities Can Complement an Overall In-Retirement Plan
Annuities can be used as a complement to an overall retirement income strategy for lifetime income. They are designed for the purpose of generating income and protecting the annuitant against outliving their resources.
The Income Solutions® team conducts a suitability review on every application to ensure a correct and responsible purchase. If an investor is looking to place more than 50% of their available resources in an annuity, the team will follow-up with the participant or their financial advisor to help evaluate the situation.
Typically, an income annuity can serve to meet income needs as the foundation of an individual’s retirement plan, with the remainder of a portfolio used for long-term growth. On average participants utilizing the Income Solutions® program invest approximately 20-30% of their retirement assets in an annuity.
Partial annuitization is key. As Kelli Hueler notes, “Every one of us ultimately needs to have a pay-down strategy, with liquid resources and resources that are growing, complemented by a longevity protection strategy, such as an income annuity provides.”
To learn more about Income Solutions® and how the program can help your retiring participants evaluate an income annuity solution as part of their overall retirement distribution plan, contact your local Alliance Benefit Group representative.