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Annuity Prospects May Prefer General Value Message

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Older Americans with some cash to invest may respond better to general messages about income guarantees than to messages about funding specific types of post-retirement expenses.

Analysts at Cannex Financial Exchanges Ltd., a Toronto-based company that provides annuity and bank price information for financial institutions, has published data supporting that possibility in a summary of results from a recent survey.

Greenwald & Associates polled 1,105 U.S. residents for Cannex in December. All of the participants were ages 55 to 75, and all said they had at least $100,000 in investable assets. Most were baby boomers. Some were younger members of the “silent generation.”

Cannex analysts found that 34% of all of the participants had concerns about maintaining their standard of living in retirement, up from 25% when the firm sponsored a similar survey in December 2015.

About 51% of the participants said it’s important for an annuity or other product offering a lifetime income guarantee to cover discretionary expenses.

Sixty percent said it’s important for a product offering a lifetime income guarantee to cover essential expenses.

In recent years, some financial advisors have tried talking to consumers more about the use of annuities to fund specific post-retirement expenses, such as Medicare-related out-of-pocket costs and long-term care costs.

When the survey team asked participants to judge three lifetime income guarantee messages, the broadest message won the highest marks.

Fifty-eight percent of the participants said a guarantee that would safely increase the amount of income a purchaser could take from investments each year would be desirable.

Only 49% of the participants said a guarantee that would cover specific expenses, such as supplemental health insurance premiums, would be desirable.

— Check out Milevsky Sells Firm to Cannex, ‘Bloomberg Terminal of Annuities,’ Then Joins It on ThinkAdvisor.