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Bonds vs. Annuities: Making the Right Choice for Your Retirement

November 15, 2018

Click the video above to see David Reyes, The Retirement Architect discussing bonds vs. annuities as a strategy for retirement income.

In the realm of financial planning, there's a pivotal decision that deserves more attention than it often receives: Bonds vs. Annuities. This choice can significantly impact your retirement, and today, we'll explore this intricate subject. Rather than relying on simplistic rules of thumb, we'll delve into the complexities and considerations surrounding these investment options.

Old Wisdom: The 120 Minus Your Age Rule

Traditionally, investors have followed a straightforward guideline: subtract your age from 120 to determine the percentage of your portfolio allocated to stocks. For instance, if you're 50 years old, this rule suggests having 70% in stocks and 30% in bonds. However, it's essential to question whether you're comfortable with the prospect of potentially losing 30% of your portfolio at any given time, as this rule implies.

The Importance of Risk Assessment

Before making investment decisions, it's crucial to assess your risk tolerance. In initial discussions with financial advisors, a common question arises: "How much are you willing to risk losing in retirement?" The typical response is, "As little as possible." Although achieving zero loss may be unrealistic, the objective is to keep losses within a range of 5% to 10%, a significant departure from the 30% suggested by the age-based rule.

Diversification: A Key Risk Mitigation Strategy

Diversification has long been recognized as a fundamental strategy to manage investment risk. Nevertheless, the traditional approach of maintaining a balance between stocks and bonds may not be the most suitable option in today's ever-changing financial landscape. Bonds, for instance, currently offer limited interest payments and are subject to increased volatility. So, where does diversification fit into this scenario?

Introducing Annuities: A Promising Solution

Now, let's introduce a concept that could revolutionize retirement planning: annuities. Annuities present a unique opportunity to secure your retirement income while reducing risk. However, the challenge lies in finding the right annuity, and this is where the concept of the "perfect annuity" comes into play.

The Perfect Annuity

In our view, the perfect annuity is one that guarantees lifetime income and includes cost-of-living adjustments. To illustrate, imagine a couple, both aged 60, who invest one million dollars in an annuity with an increasing income feature. By the time they reach 65, they are receiving $69,000 per year, and their portfolio has grown to $1.2 million.

What's truly remarkable is the income growth over time. At age 80, their annual income reaches $135,000, almost doubling from the initial payout at 65. Even more impressive is the fact that, although their account balance is depleted after 20 years, their income continues to rise based on inflation indices, providing a remarkable level of financial security.

Exploring Annuities Further

To assist you in navigating the world of annuities, you can explore various resources available online and consult with financial professionals to understand how annuities work and how they can fit into your retirement strategy.

Conclusion: A Safer Path to Retirement Income

In summary, the conventional rule of thumb for asset allocation may no longer align with the needs of today's retirees. Bonds are becoming less appealing, making it essential to explore alternative options like annuities. The "perfect annuity" can provide you with increasing income, reduce your risk, and offer a stress-free retirement.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.
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