As a teacher, you may be contributing to your school district’s 403b plan, which is a great way to save for your retirement. But, you may have noticed over the past few years that you’re just not getting ahead. Many times you may have opened your statement just to discover that you’ve lost more than you contributed that particular month! How frustrating is that? Very!
Luckily, there’s good news for teachers in the Dallas / Fort Worth area and throughout Texas. Texas teachers can choose to say no to falling portfolio values and high fees by taking control of their 403(b) retirement plans. Today’s Texas teachers have the option of moving their 403(b) monies from variable annuity ownership into fixed index annuity ownership.
A 403(b) is the teaching profession’s equivalent of a 401(k) investment plan. Nearly 80% of all 403(b) money is tied up in annuities, with the majority in variable annuities. Variable annuities were particularly popular in the 1980s and 1990s during times of strong market growth. Variable annuities provide exposure to market upside but do not offer principal protection or performance guarantees.
Variable annuities made sense for some investors when markets were going strong. However, markets don’t always go up. In fact, there has been two 50% stock market drops since 2000 that have taken a toll on millions of Americans’ retirement accounts. Many investors, including teachers, are now demanding options that offer principal protection, performance guarantees, and the potential for growth. For teachers and their 403(b)s, a fixed index annuity offers these benefits and more.
As part of a 403(b) retirement plan, a fixed index annuity provides the opportunity to participate in stock market gains. However, unlike a variable annuity, the account’s principal––including any gains made from contributions, bonuses, or positive stock market performance––is locked in and 100% protected by the insurance company against any losses. Every deposit (from payroll deductions) you put in is going to get an immediate return of up to 5.5% in the form of a bonus for the first five years. As the market goes up in a given year, you’re going to make not only up to 5.5% from the bonus, but you’re also going to make a portion of any market gains on top of that. Once you have that gain, it locks in and becomes your principal, even if the market goes down in the future.
The great news is that there’s no fee whatsoever associated with rolling over your money. Right now, if you’re sitting inside of a variable annuity, you’re paying fees and transaction costs. Also, this rollover of your money from your current 403b to a fixed index annuity in a 403b plan is not a taxable event.
With the fixed index annuity, there are a few important things that you need to be aware of. Number one is that the money you put in is 100% guaranteed by the insurance company to not go down in value. The second thing is that you’re going to participate in the stock market gains in a good year, but most importantly, not participate in the losses in a bad year. That money is going to basically lock in every year that you have a gain, so once you have a good year, it locks in and becomes your principal and is now 100% guaranteed.
Consider the features of a fixed index annuity if you are thinking, ‘I’ve only got X amount of years until I retire. I’ve got to make some money, and I most importantly can’t afford to lose money.’
Annuity product guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer.