The annuity industry has earned its bad reputation over the years due to misleading sales practices and over-hyped sales pitches. I don’t really blame the annuity carriers because it’s impossible to oversee what your “agent/advisor army” is saying to the consumer. In addition, hot sales products like Fixed Index Annuities (FIAs) are regulated at the state level…so who regulates the national TV and radio ads that sound too good to be true (because they are)?
It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to annuity sales, so how do you protect yourself as a consumer trying to make an informed decision?
Here is the ONLY protection you have when someone is trying to sell you an annuity, and the 4 steps to make sure you are not “buying the dream.”
- Listen to that agent or advisor’s sales pitch in detail and take notes or record that conversation or presentation.
- Write down in detail exactly how you understand that sale pitch, and how you think that strategy will work based on what the agent or advisor said.
- Sign and date that detailed synopsis at the bottom of the page.
- Have that agent sign and date your detailed synopsis right underneath your signature.
That agent or advisor is either going to sign it and “own” those promises or that pen is going to weigh 1,000 pounds. Either way you win. If they don’t sign, then you get up and leave. If they do sign…and haven’t been factual…you have legal tender to present to the carrier to get your money back.
Of course I sell annuities. I’m the top independent annuity agent in the United States and represent pretty much every carrier out there. I only focus on the contractual guarantees. Am I perfect? No. But I am brutally factual about annuities. I always talk about both the limitations and benefits and quote all carriers for the highest contractual guarantees available for your specific situation. I shoot it straight. No BS.
It’s important for you to know that annuities are commodities. You have to quote all carriers, so don’t allow some agent or advisor just show you one product. There is no “best” product, and quotes change every 7 to 10 days…like a gallon of milk.
And finally, remember that annuities are contracts. There is never an urgency to buy one. Make your informed decision on your terms and on your time frame. Own the contractual realities, not the sales pitch dream.