Displaying items by tag: volatility

Traditionally, fixed income is where financial advisors look to reduce portfolio risk. This is no longer the case in the post-pandemic period, as the bond market has experienced major volatility, which is becoming the norm in a high-rate, high-inflation regime.

Given these conditions, investors may be better off with fixed index annuities (FIAs). Like bonds, FIAs produce income; however, a key difference is that FIAs guarantee an income stream for life as opposed to a fixed period. Another advantage of FIAs is that they have higher earnings potential than bonds, given that many are designed to earn interest based on the performance of an external index like the S&P 500. In contrast, fixed income has significantly underperformed over the last 5 years and failed to beat inflation.

Over long periods of time, costs matter when it comes to long-term investing. Most bond investments have fees that range between 0.5% and 2%. In contrast, FIAs tend to have much lower fees, on average. 

In terms of risk, FIA offers full protection of the principal investment. This means that it can be more effective than fixed income to hedge equities, especially in the current environment. Overall, FIAs can be more effective than fixed income, especially for investors who are in or nearing retirement. 


Finsum: Advisors should consider fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) as an alternative to fixed income, especially in the current environment. FIAs offer lower costs, more downside protection, and greater potential for appreciation.

Published in Alternatives
Sunday, 02 June 2024 19:32

How Model Portfolios Can Be a Win-Win

The nature of being a financial advisor has shifted significantly over the past decade. It’s gone from being centered around selecting investments and managing portfolios to financial planning and client service. Model portfolios have been ascending along with this evolution and are forecast to exceed $1 trillion in assets over the next decade.

According to surveys, clients invested in model portfolios are more likely to have higher levels of trust with their financial advisors and believe that volatility is an opportunity to grow assets. Additionally, they are more likely to be interested in other services offered by an advisor. They can also help in terms of aligning the interests of advisors, the firm, and clients. They also free up time and energy for advisors to spend on factors that ultimately drive success for advisors, like client service and prospecting. 

Another benefit is that model portfolios provide an extra layer of due diligence, with 77% of advisors saying that they help with managing risk. In essence, it gives clients access to a higher quality of investment management and a more comprehensive relationship with an advisor.

Models also mean that advisors’ services become more scalable, enabling growth and expansion. In recent years, models have expanded to include offerings from third parties and a wider array strategies, which means there are possibilities for endless customization to fit clients’ unique needs and goals.


Finsum: Model portfolios bring the promise of a win-win for clients and advisors. Clients invested in model portfolios report higher levels of confidence with their advisor and don’t fear volatility. For advisors, they offer the ability to decrease time spent on investment management and focus more on client service and prospecting.

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 30 May 2024 11:36

Buffer ETFs Surging in 2024

In the past two years, retirement investors have funneled over $20 billion into US exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that limit both gains and losses, challenging traditional insurance products. These "buffered" ETFs capitalize on derivatives to cushion the effects of extreme market swings and have grown popular since their 2018 debut, especially after the market turbulence of 2020 and 2022.

 

The draw of buffered ETFs lies in their downside protection, which has become increasingly attractive to investors seeking to safeguard their retirement savings. Financial advisers in the US have embraced these ETFs, driving $10 billion in net inflows in both 2022 and 2023, while taking market share from the $3.3 trillion annuities market and costly structured notes.

 

This has grown not only the size but the scope of the market with 200+ defined outcome ETFs in the US, totally a staggering $37bn. In turn new competitors like BlackRock and AllianceBernstein are joining the competition to try and capitalize on the gains from First Trust and Allianz. 


Finsum: The uniqueness of buffer ETFs really is in how they integrate derivatives to drive performance and outcomes and can present nearly all in one solutions. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Thursday, 30 May 2024 11:34

Ditch Bonds In Favor of Fixed Index Annuities

Financial advisors frequently turn to bonds when managing retirement investment risk, as they are traditionally viewed as a reliable hedge against stock market fluctuations. However, recent research suggests caution, with a Bloomberg report revealing that the bond market has experienced significant volatility in recent years, and the traditional hedging with fixed income might be inadequate. 

 

To circumvent losses from bond volatility, fixed index annuities (FIAs) can serve as an effective alternative. FIAs generally carry lower risks compared to bonds but they can do so at a reduced price with a much higher potential upside. Unlike bonds, FIAs can guarantee a lifetime income, providing a unique form of security for retirement planning.

 

Interest earned from FIAs is based on an external market index, such as the S&P 500, allowing investors to benefit from market gains without the risk of market volatility. This makes FIAs an appealing option for achieving a balanced and secure retirement portfolio.


Finsum: This really comes down to investor preferences, but stock-bond correlation is increasing which should give investors reasons to consider annuities. 

Published in Wealth Management
Saturday, 18 May 2024 12:55

Is the 4% Rule Still Relevant?

The 4% rule has become conventional wisdom when it comes to managing finances during retirement. As millions of people enter retirement over the next decade, it may be time to revise this rule, given higher inflation and longer lifespans.

Social Security benefits are typically equivalent to 40% of a retiree’s income. According to TIAA, retirees should consider pairing the 4% rule with an annuity to generate higher levels of income during retirement. This means that a retiree would convert some portion of their savings into an annuity.

In the first year, this is likely to boost income by up to 32% compared to just using the 4% rule. It also leads to more predictable income and shields retirees from market risk. More predictability can also help with more effective financial planning, leading to a more enjoyable retirement. 

Treasury Inflation Protection Securities (TIPS) are another method to increase guaranteed income, especially with a ladder across different maturities. It also protects retirees against inflation. 

Overall, the 4% rule should be reconsidered, especially in this era. It leads to less spending flexibility and should be augmented with other sources of income. It also doesn’t account for retirees’ individual circumstances, such as tax rates, risk profiles, and cash flow needs. 


Finsum: TIAA believes that the 4% rule should be reconsidered, especially for those retiring now. Retirees may need more income and should consider annuities or TIPS.

Published in Alternatives
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