Archives for Finances

Indexed Annuities Are Causing Some Issues

indexed-annuityAn indexed annuity is a variation of a fixed and variable annuity. This type of annuity is taxed-deferred and considered to be an ideal savings option for someone who is looking for something more long term. Indexed annuities allow for many opportunities for growth with protecting policy owners in the event of a down market.

Typically, an indexed annuity will monitor the market index–hence its name–such as the S&P 500. Recently, researchers and analysts have noticed that over the years, indexed annuities have evolved greatly. However, this expansion has insurance markets quite concerned. In order to compete with the versatility of indexed annuities, some insurance companies are developing their own products and investment plans for a leg up in the market.

Lack of Transparency And Understandibility

After carefully studying these different products and investment policies, researchers have noticed that they are not nearly as transparent and understandable as standard annuity plans from reputable investment companies. Researchers also have discovered that almost all of this ‘unique’ plans don’t offer the best financial benefits as traditional market indexes do (source).

Wink Inc discovered that in a  2013 study that there were only 6 companies who offered ‘hybrid indices’(something that adds more complexity with less growth advantage) for indexed annuities.  Today, that number has increased to 50. Additionally, they were able to determine that aside from S&P 500, these indices are the second most popular with more than 30% of sales recorded in the third quarter. Some of these indices include Pimco Global Optima Index, S&P Multi-Asset Risk Control 5% Excess Return Index, and the BNP Paribas Momentum Multi Asset 5 Index. Due to the surge in indexed annuities, the demand for hybrid indices is becoming more and more popular amongst insurance companies. Additionally, these hybrid indices offer policyholders an interest rate that will not cap, unlike its competitor.

Hybrid Indices

These hybrid indices may seem enticing for someone who is looking for an investment plan yet has little knowledge of the ins and outs of it, however, it’s leaving many insurance agents uneasy. Sheryl Moore, the president and CEO of consulting firm Moore Market Intelligence, claims that any insurance agent who gives clients information on these hybrid indices are actually giving them unregistered, incorrect investment advice, which is very frowned upon in this business practice. Not only is it frowned upon, but it also can result in criminal charges, punishment fees, loss of insurance license, and even jail time depending on the state you reside and work in. Many other insurance agents, CEOs, executive directors, etc.–not just Moore–are as equally uneasy and skeptical about this new brand of insurance. So much so, that you won’t find it at any reputable insurance agency.

Sell Your Annuity to Rising Capital Associates

If you no longer wish to continue receiving your annuity payments and would prefer a lump sum of a cash, contact us. At Rising Capital Associates, you can sell your annuity payments for cash now. You can also sell your structured settlement payments for cash now as well. 

 

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The Equifax Breach Leaves Seniors More Vulnerable

scam-alertThis past September, Equifax released alarming news that they had experienced one of the largest cybersecurity breaches in history. From mid-May through July of 2017, over 145.5 million US residents were put at risk of identity theft. The criminals responsible for this breach were able to access personal information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Although this breach was monumental, leaving millions of Americans feeling exploited, vulnerable, and in constant fear of identity, Equifax created resources that allowed those affected to take proper measurements to further secure their personal information.

As of recently, there have not been any reported unauthorized activity on any consumer or commercial credit reporting databases. However, in light of this breach, senior citizens need to be on constant alert for scams or fraudulent activity that can occur on their banking accounts. Not only are they vulnerable to financial scams in general, but the Equifax breach could leave them at an even greater risk. Although many senior citizens are highly capable of avoiding financial scams, it’s always highly important for family member or caregiver to look out and protect them as well.

Seniors and Caretakers Working Together to Avoid Scammers

In a survey conducted by the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA)–a trade group based in New England–research showed that more than two-thirds (out of 1,700 people) of caretakers reported that scammers had attempted to target their elderly relatives (Source). Furthermore, the most popular attempt at fraud was through phone calls; however, 22% of those same scam attempts were made through either email or another form of online contact.

In addition to their study, the CCUA found that those same caretakers worry that their loved ones will not have the ability to spot a fraud as efficiently as they can. With the Equifax breach being the newest form of financial fraud, caregivers are worried more now than ever.

As stated previously, 145.5 million consumer credit files were compromised in the Equifax breach. With the two most important pieces of information being hacked and accessed–birth dates and driver’s license numbers–caregivers are growing increasingly concerned. With access to their driver’s license numbers, birth date, and Social Security number, scammers will have full capability to cross-reference their information and begin to target their victims by their age group. Unfortunately, it’s far too often that fraud is detected once it’s too late, therefore, it’s highly important for family members, friends, and caretakers to educate themselves on ways to help their loved ones avoid the risk of falling victim to a financial fraud.

Protecting Seniors From Scams

Here are some tips to protect your elderly relatives from scams and fraudsters:

  1. Talk to them regularly about all of their financial decisions. 
  2. Inform them of ways to handle potential scammers when you aren’t there to do it for them. It’s important for them to have an idea of what to look out for in order to successfully avoid any forms of financial scam; even if it means writing up a script on what they can say to scammers that call them.
  3. Advise them that if they think they are receiving a call that doesn’t seem right, then they need to hang up immediately.

Being educated and helping your loved one become more educated is one of the best courses of action in order to thoroughly protect and prevent any type of financial fraud from occurring to your elderly loved one.

With a breach as significant as the one that Equifax faced, it’s highly important for seniors to be on high alert for any forms of scams that are a result of this massive infringement on the personal information of US citizens.

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