Friday, April 11, 2008
Equity Indexed Annuity salespeople most often tell you how great these products are. And just as fast the salesperson pulls out their annuity application, starts writing and before you know it, a pen has been thrust into your hand to seal the deal. Not so fast. There’s a lot about these products that isn’t being told to you. And what’s being kept from you is for a reason. First, annuities are sold by, well… salespeople.
I know what you’re probably thinking, my advisor is a professional, a licensed, experienced, yadda, yadda. Well, that may be true, but the product is the product, no matter who is pitching you. Understand that the reward (commission) is very high for these complex annuities. The slick brochure, or slick salesperson, advisor, insert your term of preference, is not giving you the whole story. How do I know this? 90% of the transactions I have reviewed for clients have in no way matched what the clients thought they had bought. Then there are dozens of negative annuity articles written by excellent sources such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger, Smart Money, etc. And guess what these articles have in common? They slam annuity sales tactics and warn investors. Lastly, there are several multi-million dollar class action lawsuits against annuity sellers for, well… fraud.
After extensive studies, both those conducted by outside independent agencies, as well as my personal and very intimate reviews of dozens of annuities (including the biggest and most respected insurance companies) arrives at one truth. That truth is that many Equity indexed Annuities will give you horribly low returns, between 40% - 60% of the market’s return, before being hit with ordinary income tax under the terrible LIFO and IRD rules. Yep, no lower capital gains or tax on gains forgiveness for your family like you would get on other alternatives.
There’s good news though. If you are already in one of these annuities, with the right help, you may be able to get your money and losses back. And in case you were wondering if the salesperson will help you here, you might also want to ask the wolf to baby sit the hens while you go out to dinner.
Written by Steven Roth of Wealth Management International
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Annuity lawsuits are becoming a lot more prevalent these days. Fixed annuities, Equity Index Annuities, and Variable Annuities are all coming under scrutiny and justifiably so. There has been tremendous abuse connected to annuity sales to consumers.
However, many people are now finding that there is some recourse. But, the challenge is proving that there was some sort of negligence or willful misconduct. So that becomes the challenge. The reason is simple. You may be in your annuity and know that there is something wrong but not quite know how to pinpoint it. Or worse, you may absolutely know there is something wrong with your annuity but not know EXACTLY what is wrong. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Annuity Lawyers: What's the Problem?
Sometimes, unless you are well versed with annuities, it is hard to what the problem is with your annuity. You may have lack of performance due to high fees, a poor crediting method, a tax time-bomb, limited liquidity, or one or more other problems, but not quite know to what degree or to what extent. But that is quite critical when going to an attorney. Chances are the attorney, unless he specializes in annuity lawsuits and is very familiar with the inner workings of annuities is NOT going to know how to assess the TRUE DAMAGE that was done to you in your annuity. Let me repeat---most attorneys don't know how to assess the damage done to you unless they are annuity and financial experts and most of them aren't. So you have to hope that they have the right experts to assist them. Also, they have to also be on top of securities, insurance, and other complex laws. Otherwise, your case may not be successful and you have lost your shot, and unless the attorney is on contingency, paid a lot of money for nothing.
The Major Key to Recovery from Your Unsuitable Annuity
Knowing what your losses or damages are play a MAJOR role in recovery from your annuity company as well. Thesefactors are critical to get right if you are torecover what you are entitled to from the annuity company. If you cannot quantify your damages and explain why it shouldn’t have happened, then how can you have recourse? You must be able to prove that there are damages, the extent of the damage, and how the agent and or the annuity company are responsible. So unless you can do that or have a resource to do that (if you don't, we're going to show you how), your recovery efforts will probably be unsuccessful.
So the bottom line is, annuity lawsuits have been more prevalent but the ones that have gone favorably for the consumer have been the ones where the consumer goes in with a FULL assessment of the true damages properly documented and the right argument for why they should get out of penalties, recover lost interest, etc.. Stay tuned for the next several days and weeks to learn in full detail what to look for and how to take action. Alternatively, if you feel like you are in an unsuitable annuity and want to take action right away, feel free to visit AnnuityMD.com to begin the discovery process. IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS