Safe Money Options

Retirement planning is about having enough money to enjoy the retirement life you want — whether that dream involves remaining in your longtime home or living somewhere exotic.

This planning generally requires professional help. It should involve determining the cost to accomplish your dreams and take into account every possible source of future income — including Social Security, savings and investments and work-related benefits.

Once established, your plan for the future should be updated and reviewed on a regular basis for the rest of your life. Major life events can drastically impact the strategy so it is imperative to stay committed to your plan. Your local GCB agent is an expert in retirement planning and creating unique plans to fit your specific needs.

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Fixed Interest Annuity

This product is designed to help you accumulate funds for your retirement. The money in your annuity earns a guaranteed fixed rate of interest and your money accumulates on a tax-deferred basis, meaning you do not pay taxes on your earnings until you actually withdraw them from your policy.

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Fixed Index Annuity

A fixed index annuity provides the guarantees that come with fixed annuities but is combined with the opportunity to earn interest based on changes in an external market index. Because you are not actually participating in the market, the money in your annuity is not at risk.

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Fixed Immediate Annuity

An immediate annuity is purchased with a single lump-sum payment and, in exchange, pays a guaranteed income stream that starts almost immediately. It can be a good edition to your retirement plan if you’re retiring now, or recently retired and want to be sure more of your expenses are covered by guaranteed income.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are a few questions and answers to get you started. Visit gcbseniorinsurance.com for in-depth information and articles on specific topics.

There are many products available on the market today. Among the options for financial planning, annuities are increasing in popularity. Annuities have gained a reputation for reliability and lend the option to provide a guaranteed stream of income for life. Other popular features of annuities include the ability to tax defer earnings and efficiently pass assets to heirs outside of probate. A recent survey showed that almost three-quarters of Americans* were interested in adding annuities to their future planning.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text.Your personal financial plan should be directed specifically to you and your current and future needs. However, the participation of your spouse, partner or other family members is important, as retirement is a significant change for the entire family.

There are certain elements that should be part of any plan.
1. Set goals — where you want to be, what you want to do, and how much money you will need to accomplish these goals.

2. Do not depend on one source of income — savings, annuities, Social Security, pension benefits should all be part of your retirement income plan.

3. Review documents and insurance coverages — understand all insurance coverages, make note of Medicare milestones, and update important documents (wills, trusts, power of attorney and beneficiaries).

4. Work with a professional — find someone who knows his or her way around planning, wealth management, insurance and more. This would be someone with the appropriate designations, ample experience or a professional firm.

An annuity is an insurance product. Annuities can provide a steady, protected stream of income, usually with tax-deferred growth. Annuities can have death benefits and sometimes provide access to enhanced death benefit riders and riders for additional access to the benefit in the event of a long-term care situations.

With an immediate annuity you can begin to receive benefits soon after you make your first payment (tax-deferred growth is not included in an immediate annuity). A deferred annuity allows your money to be invested for later withdrawals, likely during retirement. More you should know:

FIXED ANNUITIES: Fixed annuities pay a guaranteed rate of interest. They are sometimes compared to CDs (with annuity rates usually higher than CDs). They tend to be popular with conservative investors.

VARIABLE ANNUITIES: Here you choose from a selection of investments (sub-accounts), similar to a mutual fund. Over time, your annuity pays you according to the performance of the investments you choose.

Overall, a major factor in choosing an annuity is the safety and security of the company who is issuing the contract. Is the firm financially strong? Will it be around for a long, long time? We take this aspect of selection very seriously and discuss it carefully with customers, taking into consideration reserves and history of the companies we represent. Always research industry ratings, such as AM Best or S&P, to ensure you are working with a top rated company.

You can claim Social Security at any time between the ages of 62 and 70. Exactly when you claim is up to you, depending on your immediate financial needs and your desire to retire. Social Security’s “full” retirement age for those born between 1943 and 1954 is 66. It moves to age 67 for those born after 1954.

If economically feasible, it would benefit you to claim later. The dramatic difference in income can be demonstrated with this example of a one income earner: If you retire at full retirement age in 2015 (age 66), your monthly benefit would be $2,663. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your benefit would be $3,501. And if you claim early, which you have every right to do, be aware of even more of a financial impact. For example, if you claim at age 62, your monthly Social Security check could be reduced by as much as 25%, for a monthly benefit of $2,130.

For married couples, both having claimed benefits, each is guaranteed half of what the other would make at full retirement age. A widow or widower can keep his or her own benefit amount, or claim a survivor benefit equal to their spouse’s monthly benefit.

In most cases, your Social Security income is based on the number of years worked and your earnings during those years. You can receive a statement of your estimated Social Security benefits by clicking on this link to Social Security.

The best time to start financial planning is NOW. It is never too early and it is never too late. Be smart and prepare for the best years of your life! If you didn’t plan early, there are still ways to maximize what you have going for you.

We are happy to say Game Changing Benefits can help. Taking a needs-based approach, we can help you create a smart, flexible plan and select the right financial products for your specific situation. We want to help you achieve your retirement goals and dreams.

We will help you understand how annuities and other products work and how they can benefit you. We will help you know when to claim Social Security and to make choices that are right for you and your spouse.