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Hi - Am not a new fool, but new to the Fool Boards and need help to save my Mom's financial life. Here are some facts:

She's in her 80's, widowed, like most,lost 40-50% during the last couple years, needs to earn about 6% on what she has, and is only earning about 2.5%. Has 33% invested in Tech stocks, the rest in other diverse equities, and a couple bonds. Broker advising a variable annuity - I feel as though there's a better way to stop her from withdrawing from the princpal each month, than an annuity. HELP!!!

With Dad gone, there is no one to advise us who doesn't have an agenda....so I come to the Fool Boards for advice. Can you help, please?

oceans
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She's in her 80's, widowed, like most,lost 40-50% during the last couple years, needs to earn about 6% on what she has, and is only earning about 2.5%. Has 33% invested in Tech stocks, the rest in other diverse equities, and a couple bonds. Broker advising a variable annuity - I feel as though there's a better way to stop her from withdrawing from the princpal each month, than an annuity. HELP!!!

At 80 years of age, why should she avoid withdrawing the principal? Is the money needed for some other expense?

-Ortman
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At 80 years of age, why should she avoid withdrawing the principal? Is the money needed for some other expense?

Right now, the principal size is unknown and you don't know how long she'll live.

IF
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At 80 years of age, why should she avoid withdrawing the principal? Is the money needed for some other expense?

Right now, the principal size is unknown and you don't know how long she'll live.

The size of the principal doesn't matter, does it?

The poster wanted to earn 6% on the principal, but is hesitant to touch the principal itself. Assuming that the income is to support his mother, it seems that at 80 years of age one could look at a plan to generate necessary income which involves both interest earned AND utilization of the principle.

Her life span is an uknown; but you can likely make a fairly safe guess, or pay an insurance company to take on that risk should you desire.

The only point of my question was: why not use the principal if necessary in order to obtain the income level necessary for the remainder of her life?

-Ortman
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The size of the principal doesn't matter, does it?

The poster wanted to earn 6% on the principal, but is hesitant to touch the principal itself. Assuming that the income is to support his mother, it seems that at 80 years of age one could look at a plan to generate necessary income which involves both interest earned AND utilization of the principle.

Her life span is an uknown; but you can likely make a fairly safe guess, or pay an insurance company to take on that risk should you desire.


I'm not sure you can really discount age. My great-grandmother lived to 107. That's another 27 years to live on investments.

IF
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I'm not sure you can really discount age. My great-grandmother lived to 107. That's another 27 years to live on investments.

Then assume an age of 110, and set up the funds so that the balance reaches zero at age 110.

-Ortman
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Your mom has lived into her 80's so unless she has some serious medical condition now she could live a long time. My concern with an annuity would be how much will be eaten up by fees. You can probably do just as well yourself. If she needs 6% income to live on I'd dump the techs. Most pay little or nothing in dividends. True, they have potential for long term appreciation but your mom need income now. Look for a diversified portfolio of good quality dividend paying stocks, which will gradually appreciate over time. Maybe 10% in REITS or a REIT Index like Vanguard. GNMA fund will also give her income with modest risk. Avoid long term bonds right now. Interest rates are certain to rise over the next couple years and long bonds will lose value.

This isn't a comprehendsive portfolio but at least gives you some ideas to get started. As capital gains accumulate in the portfolio you can sell some holdings for additional cash, but leave enough of the gains in the portfolio to compensate for inflation.
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She's in her 80's, widowed, like most,lost 40-50% during the last couple years, needs to earn about 6% on what she has, and is only earning about 2.5%. Has 33% invested in Tech stocks, the rest in other diverse equities, and a couple bonds. Broker advising a variable annuity - I feel as though there's a better way to stop her from withdrawing from the princpal each month, than an annuity. HELP!!!

It's beyond comprehension that someone who professes to be a financial advisor would suggest that anyone in their 80s should convert their portfolio to an annuity. This would do nothing more than generate a huge fee for the broker, with a corresponding loss to the holder. If you simply put her money in intermediate term corporate bonds, with a dose in large cap dividend-paying equities, it would be easy to reach your desired rate of return. I would stay away from long term bonds. All in all, it's hard to believe that her existing portfolio is doing so badly, given the diversification you described.
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The problem will be that her living expenses could drastically change - if she needs to go into an extended care nursing home. Or she may be very healthy and want to take that trip she always wanted to take. So- you may want to keep some flexibility in her account.

And remember the old adage, "you can't take it with you".

Jim
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oceans50,

You asked:

<<Hi - Am not a new fool, but new to the Fool Boards and need help to save my Mom's financial life. Here are some facts:

She's in her 80's, widowed, like most,lost 40-50% during the last couple years, needs to earn about 6% on what she has, and is only earning about 2.5%. Has 33% invested in Tech stocks, the rest in other diverse equities, and a couple bonds. Broker advising a variable annuity - I feel as though there's a better way to stop her from withdrawing from the princpal each month, than an annuity. HELP!!!
>>

A variable annuity just might work and be acceptable if it's one of the newer types that has some of the guarantees of principle riders. Most people on these boards react negatively with regard to annuities and most often that's based on old data. Yes . . . there are costs associated with that – particularly with variable annuities (no so much with fixed or Equity Index annuities). So . . . you may want to look closely at it anyway as you, and more importantly your Mom, may find that the benefits are worth the costs.

<< With Dad gone, there is no one to advise us who doesn't have an agenda....so I come to the Fool Boards for advice. Can you help, please? >>

Another alternative you may want to check into is a Split-Annuity arrangement. One annuity for tax deferred growth and the other an Immediate Annuity for a guaranteed income for a period of time (like 5 to 10 years). The Deferred Annuity might suit your objectives if it's an Equity Index Annuity since it won't have the market risk of a variable annuity and can realize a 6 to 7% rate of return with no risk to principle (higher than a regular fixed annuity). Note also that an Immediate Annuity with the life income option for someone you're Mom's age can look quite appealing (that's because of the mortality tables used and if she has any health issues at all . . .that makes it even better).

If your “Broker” is not an expert on annuities, then you might want to seek one out to get the details on them so you and your Mom can make good informed decisions.

Note: I am not suggesting that this IS the way to go since many more details regarding your Mom's situation and finances should be known. Some of the other suggestion made here are also viable alternatives. Just which is most appealing to you and your Mom depends you her set of issues, which I'm sure is much more extensive that what you're shown so far.
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It's beyond comprehension that someone who professes to be a financial advisor would suggest that anyone in their 80s should convert their portfolio to an annuity.This would do nothing more than generate a huge fee for the broker

You haven't a clue what you're talking about. An immediate annuity is an excellent solution here.

If you simply put her money in intermediate term corporate bonds, with a dose in large cap dividend-paying equities, it would be easy to reach your desired rate of return.

Her return will be far higher with an annuity, perhaps 12% per year gauranteed, and the insurance company assumes the risk that she outlives her money.

Nick




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Re; Saving Mom's Portfolio...

Thanks to all of you for putting up with my lack of disseminating info so that you can all help more efficiently.....She wants what principal there is left to go on to her heirs...maybe grow for them, and STILL get her 6-7% income so that she doesn't touch the principal.....And we're talking about approx. $300,000. Not much....

You're all GREAT to give us the feedback you are....I thank you.

Oceans
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Her return will be far higher with an annuity, perhaps 12% per year gauranteed, and the insurance company assumes the risk that she outlives her money.

12% per year guaranteed? I find that *extremely* hard to believe.
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Nick wrote: Her return will be far higher with an annuity, perhaps 12% per year gauranteed, and the insurance company assumes the risk that she outlives her money.


MC answered: 12% per year guaranteed? I find that *extremely* hard to believe.

And you will be extremelly wrong.

www.immmediateannuity.com

80 year old female resident of Florida

Invests 300k in life annuity

$2871 monthly income

$34,452 per annum

11.48 return for as long as she lives

Half as much may give the nut she needs, plus additional flexibility.

There is nothing wrong with immediate annuities in certain situations. They make sense sometimes.

The OP's broker was looking at 15-20k commission on the VA, that only made sense to him.

buzman
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MC answered: 12% per year guaranteed? I find that *extremely* hard to believe.

And you will be extremelly wrong.


But there is nothing left after the person dies, right? This means that the 12% "return" actually includes a return of principal.

How is this different from drawing down the principal in a portfolio?
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For someone listing his occupation as "Money Manager", it's surprising you don't understand this most basic financial instrument.
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But there is nothing left after the person dies, right? This means that the 12% "return" actually includes a return of principal.

How is this different from drawing down the principal in a portfolio?


There's no risk of out living the portfolio. Duh. :)

-Ortman
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She wants what principal there is left to go on to her heirs...maybe grow for them, and STILL get her 6-7% income so that she doesn't touch the principal.....And we're talking about approx. $300,000. Not much....

Ah, got it. If that's what she wants, and it can be worked out, it's her money and her choice.

At the same time, one of her heirs will eventually waste the money on something silly. If the money would make a material difference in her quality of life, she should think about using some of it.

If it were my mother, I would make sure that her comfort came before any goal of saving the principle for heirs. Not knowing the details of your mother's situation (other income, living situation, etc) I can't say if that's a concern in your situation or not.

-Ortman
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But there is nothing left after the person dies, right? This means that the 12% "return" actually includes a return of principal.

How is this different from drawing down the principal in a portfolio?


There's no risk of out living the portfolio. Duh. :)


I think the "Duh" comment wasn't called for, even with the smiley face.

Obviously there is no risk of out living the portfolio. I was referring to the conceptual difference regarding living off your principal.
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For someone listing his occupation as "Money Manager", it's surprising you don't understand this most basic financial instrument.

I understand it. It is *you* who doesn't understand what a "return" means.
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I think the "Duh" comment wasn't called for, even with the smiley face.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound so flippant; I simply hit the submit button before thinking.

Obviously there is no risk of out living the portfolio. I was referring to the conceptual difference regarding living off your principal.

While he used the word "return", I doubt it was intentional (though I'll let him speak for himself, as I'll do him no good). So while you are correct, there is no 12% return to be had here - I think it was clear to anyone reading it that the 12% was going to utilize the principal.

-Ortman
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While he used the word "return", I doubt it was intentional

Well, whether it was intentional or not, I was correct in doubting the claim of a return of 12% guaranteed, and I certainly didn't deserve to be insulted for it (especially considering I was correct).
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Well, whether it was intentional or not, I was correct in doubting the claim of a return of 12% guaranteed, and I certainly didn't deserve to be insulted for it (especially considering I was correct).

I didn't insult you; I made the mistake of committing a friendly ribbing on an unwilling participant. Insult implies insolence or insensitiviy on my part, which I don't think applies.

You knew what the author was trying to convey by his post, and chose to focus on semantics in your reply.

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Well, whether it was intentional or not, I was correct in doubting the claim of a return of 12% guaranteed, and I certainly didn't deserve to be insulted for it (especially considering I was correct).

I didn't insult you; I made the mistake of committing a friendly ribbing on an unwilling participant. Insult implies insolence or insensitiviy on my part, which I don't think applies.


I wasn't clear, but I wasn't referring to *your* comment. I was referring to yobria's comment:
"For someone listing his occupation as "Money Manager", it's surprising you don't understand this most basic financial instrument."

And after I said:
"12% per year guaranteed? I find that *extremely* hard to believe."
buzman replied:
"And you will be extremelly wrong"

I thought the attitude wasn't justified, especially considering I was extremely correct.

You knew what the author was trying to convey by his post, and chose to focus on semantics in your reply

I *didn't* know what the author was trying to convey. When yobria said return, I thought he meant return. I'm funny that way.
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I wasn't clear, but I wasn't referring to *your* comment. I was referring to yobria's comment:

No problem. I thought it was my comment to which you referring. While it wasn't 100% appropiate, I didn't think it was bad enough to warrant that sort of response.

That being the case, I think we are ok. :)

-Ortman

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Thank you all.....and just to be clear - the priority is and always will be Mom's happy use of her money - These are her wishes, to TRY - I say again, TRY to leave something behind for the heirs....and, while trying to safeguard the principal, still find a way to make enough each month to allow her some "excesses", well deserved ones (her "necessities" are covered by other means). Can she not get an annuity with a "principal guarantee rider"? Do you sacrifice percentage points??

Oceans
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Can she not get an annuity with a "principal guarantee rider"?

+++
+++

IMHO, you need to remove "annuity" from your vocabulary, your mind, and any possible consideration from your Mom's Portfolio.

sunray
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Can she not get an annuity with a "principal guarantee rider"? Do you sacrifice percentage points??

My suggestion would be to discuss Mom's situation with fee-only financial planner.

There are some well-intentioned posters here. But you will often get conflicting opinions.

www.napfa.org www.garrettplanning.com

buzman

Disclaimer I am a member of both organizations.
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Hey Oceans,

You've got a serious thread going here...Take a look at TTRoberts response.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20143501

I happen to agree with him with respect to the annuity. They're really not all bad...that says a lot coming from me...search for the "parents burned" thread in this board and you'll see why.

I'm not fan of variable annuities but a immediate annuity may be just what the doctor ordered here. You also mentioned you'd like the principle to be protected...Voila...you have the Equity Indexed Annuity to resolve that issue as TTRoberts mentioned. You mentioned her "necessities" are covered so perhaps she doesn't need to put the full $300k into an immediate annuity. Maybe $150k will get her by for 20 years or you can even put into a life fixed annuity and the rest go to her heirs. Just a thought...I have no idea how much her "excesses" run (my wife's run quite a bit!!!) ;-)

Obviously her interest is most important so with a little more research I think you can find a good answer. Here's a site to help decipher some of your annuity questions...

http://www.retirementplanningforseniors.com/annuitybasics.htm

Some have age limitations as well. If it's too much, find a good financial planner (fee based...preferably hourly IMHO) that can help track annuities down for you. I think buzman pointed you to www.immediateannuity.com but do some shopping. TIAA-CREF or Vanguard (their results aren't posted on immediateannuity.com last I checked) may have some lower cost alternatives.

Best of luck...

Jesse




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Thanks to all......still up in the air about how to manage Mom's portfolio, but a "safe landing" appears imminent. Have made an appointment with a fee-only advisor for tomorrow.....to see if that's an instrument we should utilize to guide us.

Meantime, am reading all you write, and following all leads and suggestions....and thank you again.

Will post again as we go thru the next week and the decision process...

Oceans
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