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T.F.R.A

TRADITIONAL

Protected From Any Loss

When the stock market declines your money freezes in place, and you never lose a penny.

Participation in Market Gains

When the market goes up, your money grows with stock market returns.

Living Benefits

Chronic, Critical, Terminal Illness access to hundreds of thousands WITHOUT fees or penalties.

Access Money Tax Free Without Penalty

Liquidity. Access your money without any early withdrawal penalty or tax

Access To Your Money At Any Age

Need money before 601/27 Liquid access at any age with no penulty.

No Probate Or Taxes For Your Beneficiary

Money put in, money you've gained and death benefit avoid probate & taxation.

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With many traditional 'retirement' options there are penalties and hardship requirements prior to age 59 1/2

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Time Magazine: Why It’s Time to Retire The 401(K)

The Wall Street Journal

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Baby Boomers Outliving Their 401K

Many younger baby boomers may outlive their 401(k) savings, new research finds. Here's why

KEY POINTS

  • A new study finds that retirees spend down their 401(k) savings balances at an alarming speed.

  • Many older Americans could be at risk of emptying their accounts by 85, although half of them will live beyond then.

Older Americans may have a number of different goals with their retirement savings. But usually their main goal is the same: to make it last.


Unfortunately, many younger baby boomers and members of subsequent generations who don't have access to a traditional pension could outlive the funds in their 401(k) accounts, a recent study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found.


The economists compared the drawdown speeds between those with traditional pensions and those with only 401(k) savings accounts. Although most research on how long retirees' money lasts is based on the former category, the majority of people now fall into the latter.

TIME Magazine: How Safe Is Your Insurance Company?

By Sean Scully / Philadelphia Friday, Oct. 10, 2008

 

Consumers could be forgiven for being jittery this week when news came that MetLife and The Hartford, two well known insurance giants, had experienced huge losses on their investments and were seeking billions in private investment to keep up their reserves. Their stocks have dropped by at least half in just a month. After all, wasn't this the way Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia started their slides into oblivion?

But major American insurance companies are in little danger of going the way of the extinct banks, industry analysts and officials say. And policy holders are in no danger of being unable to insure their lives, homes, and property. "We don't have a liquidity crisis, we aren't experiencing a credit crisis," says Robert Hartwig, president of industry trade group The Insurance Information Institute. "We have the cash to pay claims."

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Unlike the banks that have collapsed or merged under pressure, insurance companies are tightly regulated, mostly by the states. The companies are required to keep vast sums of cash and short term investments to be able to pay off policies, and they are required to pay into state funds to protect policy holders in case one of the companies should ever fail.

 

Despite the stomach churning stock plunges, the situation with insurance companies simply doesn't compare with the failed banks, says financial analyst Barry Rabkin of Financial Insights, an IDC company. "They're solvent — solidly solvent" thanks to conservative investments and tight state regulator oversight. The big companies are "not going anywhere."

 

Insurance companies did invest in real estate and mortgages, he says, but not in the huge way the banks did — only about 10% of investments were in those areas industry-wide. It is those investments that have caused recent reported investment losses at MetLife and The Hartford.

401K Originator Regrets What They Started

The Champions of the 401(k) Lamentthe Revolution They Started

The dominant vehicle for retirement savings has fallen short of its early backers’ rosy expectations; longer life spans, high fees and stock-market declines

Herbert Whitehouse was one of the first in the U.S. to suggest workers use a 401(k)

Thirty-five years later, the J & J human-resources executive has misgivings about what he helped start.

“We weren’t social visionaries,” Mr. Whitehouse says.

Many early backers of the 401(k) now say they have regrets about how their creation turned out despite its emergence asthe dominant way most Americans save. Some say it wasn’t designed to be a primary retirement tool and acknowledge they used forecasts that were too optimistic to sell the plan in its early days.

 

Others say the proliferation of 401(k) plans has exposed workers to big drops in the stock market and high fees from Wall Street money managers.

“The great lie is that the 401(k) was capable of replacing the old system of pensions,” says former American Society of Pension Actuaries head Gerald Facciani, who helped turn back a 1986 Reagan administration push to kill the 401(k). “It was oversold.”

Misgivings about 401(k) plans are part of a larger debate over how best to boost the savings of all Americans. Some early 401(k) backers are now calling for changes that either force employees to save more

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored plan that allows workers to place pretax wages into a savings account. Companies aren’t required to make matching contributions, but they often do as an employee perk. Unlike defined benefit pensions, which provide set payouts for life, 401(k) accounts rise and fall with financial markets.

The advent of 401(k)s gave individuals considerable discretion as to how and even whether they would save for retirement. Just 61% of eligible workers are currently saving, and most have never calculated how much they would need to retire comfortably, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute and market researcher Greenwald & Associates

Financial experts recommend people amass at least eight times their annual salary to retire.

Savings gap

Fifty-two percent of U.S. households are at risk of running low on money during retirement, based on projections of assets, home prices, debt levels and Social Security income, according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. That is up from 31% of householdsin 1983. Roughly 45% of all households currently have zero saved for retirement, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.

More than 30 million U.S. workers don’t have access to any retirement plan because many small businesses don’t provide one. People are living longer than they did in the 1980s, fewer companies are covering retirees’ health-care expenses, wages have largely stagnated and low interest rates have diluted investment gains.

“I go around the country. The thing that people are terrified about is running out of money,” says Phyllis C. Borzi, a U.S. Labor Department assistant secretary and retirement-income expert.

MSNBC: The Safety of Insurance Companies

Excerpt from an MSN money Article on the safety of Life Insurance Companies 2-25-09

 

The next big financial meltdown?

 

Don't worry, be happy

 

Though industry supporters acknowledge there could be serious trouble if the economy and the markets sink low enough, they cite several reasons a doomsday scenario isn't realistic:

  • First, life insurers typically have very little money invested in stocks or risky mortgagebacked securities. Most of it is in bonds -- and in a broadly diversified portfolio of high-grade corporate or government bonds at that, maintains Steven Weisbart, the chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute. "There may be one portion of their portfolios where they are experiencing investment losses, but you have to look at their overall business and how they are managing that business," Ohio Insurance Director Mary Jo Hudson told me. "Based on the analysis that we do here in Ohio, the insurance companies are safe and sound."

  • Next, outright bankruptcies are unlikely, says Sterne Agee analyst John Nadel, because life insurance companies have agreed to make payouts over the long term -- typically several decades from now. They can survive near-term market weakness because they aren't required to make payouts right away.

  • Nadel also doubts a run on the insurance companies will occur, because they charge hefty fees for cashing out accounts. Uncle Sam hits policyholders with penalties for cashing out early, too.

  • And unlike Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros., insurers did not borrow huge amounts of money to make investments, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan says.

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