According to a recent report, 47 percent of investors are concerned about market volatility.1
At the same time, 60 percent want their income amount to be able to grow with the market and 55 percent want to be able to adapt their income plans if their needs change.2
As a result, many of these investors are turning to their financial advisors to help solve these challenges.
These days, investors may be looking for a better balance between growth potential and market protection. “Annuities can play a critical role in helping clients not only invest for retirement, but also insure for retirement by providing opportunities for growth and guaranteed lifetime income,” according to Elizabeth Forget, executive vice president, MetLife Retail Retirement & Wealth Solutions.
In other words, your clients should have a portion of their retirement savings allocated to a guaranteed income solution in addition to traditional investments.
MetLife recently announced the launch of its new FlexChoice guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) rider, which, for an additional charge, is available with the company’s flagship variable annuities. This optional feature is designed to provide clients with guaranteed lifetime income, as well as the opportunity to benefit from potential market growth, while offering flexibility should their financial needs change.3
“People have expectations and plans for retirement but often things happen and life unfolds in unexpected ways,” said Forget.
FlexChoice features three important benefits.
First, FlexChoice provides guaranteed lifetime income,4 even if markets decline or the account value is reduced to zero.
Clients can choose to receive either a level income guarantee for life (FlexChoice Level), or receive higher income in earlier years of retirement with a lower guarantee in later years (FlexChoice Expedite).
Second, FlexChoice offers a flexible investment fund lineup that provides clients with the opportunity to benefit from market growth in a risk-managed way.
The MetLife Protected Growth Strategies are a suite of risk-managed portfolios that are designed to provide more consistent returns over time by including a wider range of asset classes and a greater focus on risk. “These are specially designed portfolios that are tailor-made for today’s markets,” said Forget.5
In addition, clients can help grow their retirement income with FlexChoice through two important features:
1. Annual Compounding: The client’s Benefit Base is used to determine the maximum amount of withdrawals they can take annually, as well as the future lifetime income payments. It compounds at 5 percent for the first 10 contract years in years no withdrawals are taken, regardless of what happens in the market or to the client’s account value.
2. Automatic Step-Ups: Clients can also capture market gains through Automatic Step-Ups, which increases their Benefit Base if their account value increases and is greater than their Benefit Base on any contract anniversary prior to their 91st birthday.6
Finally, FlexChoice provides real-life flexibility. Clients’ circumstances, choices, and needs may change over time, which means their retirement plan may need to change as well. FlexChoice offers a number of flexible features including:
1. Spousal flexibility: For married couples, FlexChoice offers significant flexibility.
a. It provides the ability to receive income for one or two lives, at no additional charge, and does not require clients to make this decision at purchase.
b. If the owner passes away, the surviving spouse can continue to receive the same benefits from the rider including receiving life-time income.7
2. Flexible withdrawal options: Clients can choose to start and stop withdrawing their income at any time, while still receiving the guarantee of lifetime income.
3. Optional death benefit: In order to leave a legacy a death benefit is available that includes annual compounding and annual step-ups (and will be adjusted for withdrawals).8
4. Optional cancellation: If a client’s needs change, they have the ability to cancel the benefit and receive their initial purchase payment back (adjusted for withdrawals).9
MetLife’s variable annuity with the optional FlexChoice guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) rider provides retirement security and adaptability in one package. “FlexChoice provides income when clients want it and flexibility when clients need it, adapting to the changing needs of your clients” said Forget.
1 Source: “Financial Professional Outlook” Russell Investments, November 2014.
2 Source: “Finding the Right Mix: Retirement Income Attitudes and Preferences.” LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute 2014.
3 The GLWB guarantee is subject to the conditions described in the prospectus for the contract, which should be read carefully before investing. One important such condition is that withdrawals before a specified age (59½ is the earliest) or that exceed a specified amount in a contract year will reduce or eliminate the guarantee.
4 Guarantees are subject to product terms, exclusions and limitations, and the insurer’s claims-paying ability and financial strength.
5 A portion of a contract owner’s contract value must be invested in investment funds that have investment strategies intended in part to reduce the risk of investment losses. Other investment options available under the contract if the GLWB rider is not selected may offer the potential for higher returns.
6 The Benefit Base is not available to be taken as a lump sum or paid as a death benefit and does not establish or guarantee a contract owner’s account value under a contract or a minimum return for any investment fund.
7 The Joint Lifetime Guarantee Rate is only available for spouses. The spouse cannot be more than 10 years younger than the older owner as determined by the birthdays of the two individuals. If a contract is jointly owned, the Joint Lifetime Guarantee Rate is only available for the spouse of the older owner.
8 FlexChoice Death Benefit is referred to as the GLWB Death Benefit in the prospectus. This is a dollar for dollar death benefit, and it is available at issue only for an additional fee. Withdrawals made before age 59½ and/or Excess Withdrawals (could impact whether or not you receive lifetime income payments) will reduce the Death Benefit Base on a pro rata basis. Please see the prospectus for details.
9 You can cancel the FlexChoice rider on the 5th, 10th, or later contract anniversary. If you choose to cancel your rider on the 10th or later contract anniversary, and your account value has dropped due to market performance, you will receive a Guaranteed Principal Adjustment (GPA) to your account value. Please see the prospectus for details.
It is possible to lose money in a variable annuity even when an optional protection benefit is elected. The prospectus for a MetLife variable annuity issued by MetLife insurance company is available from MetLife. The contract prospectus contains information about the contract’s features, risks, charges and expenses. Clients should read the prospectus and consider this information carefully before investing.
Availability and features may vary by state. MetLife variable annuities are long-term investments designed for retirement purposes and have limitations, exclusions, charges, termination provisions and terms for keeping them in force. The account value is subject to market fluctuations and investment risk so that, when withdrawn, it may be worth more or less than its original value. Variable annuities, other than Preference Premier®, are issued by MetLife Insurance Company USA, Charlotte, NC 28277 on Policy Form 8010 (11/00). The Preference Premier variable annuity is issued by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on Policy Form PPS (07/01) and is offered through MetLife Securities, Inc. (member FINRA/SIPC). All variable products are distributed by MetLife Investors Distribution Company (member FINRA). All are MetLife companies. L0415418702[exp0416][All States]