Making it with Millennials: Why Annuities are Appealing

In the annuity world, the big buyers are men and women age 50 and up who are nearing retirement and looking for guaranteed retirement income. But have you ever considered the other end of the age spectrum?

I’m 24 years old and have been in the work force for six months. I graduated with honors and a degree in business marketing, yet I am unsure of what I should be doing to optimize my money for retirement. As the common definition of “millennial” goes, I’m your classic case—an educated and empowered young adult between the age of 18 and 34.

Like the rest of my generation, I am passionate about experiencing the world and am disillusioned with the idea of waiting until retirement to travel the world and mark things off my bucket list. I want to take advantage of my youth and demand a healthy work-life balance. To afford experiences and trips, I work to save money to go on my next trip, while I also try to figure out the best way to save enough for the future and maintain a comfortable lifestyle. I’m unsure about what to do financially and my decisions usually occur after consulting with my mom—not a professional.

My generation often gets a bad rap for being too connected, too materialistic and too lazy, but that isn’t quite fair. We’ve grown up in a rapidly changing world where the American dream has become a quick reality for young tech companies and app developers. Social media has changed our view of everything, by opening our eyes to the beautiful and lavish world, and mobile devices have accustomed us to instant gratification and information. We’ve become info-maniacs, constantly asking questions and searching for quick and straightforward answers on our phones. So we struggle with the world of finances and investments because they make us uncomfortable—there are no definitive ways to ensure our money will grow to be enough for our retirement.

Working at CreativeOne, I’ve learned all about the types of financial vehicles available and the advantages and disadvantages to each, yet I still find myself paralyzed when it comes to making financial decisions. I’m weary of the stock market and the risks associated with it. Because of Ponzi schemes like the one performed by Bernie Madoff, I am less willing to blindly trust my money with advisors.

As I wade into the real world and begin building a foundation for my future, I am befuddled when it comes to finances. However, the finances are starting to make a little more sense since I started my job here. The more I learn about the products we offer and how they work, the more I am attracted to annuities. I’m told I’m too young for them. However, they are the only product that provides the clear and guaranteed answer I desire.

While the qualities that attract me to annuities are the same as those that appeal to baby boomers, my reasoning is different. Here’s why I think annuities are appealing to my fellow millennials:

They offer a guaranteed source of income later in life we can depend on.
With switching jobs to find fulfillment becoming a common trait among my generation, an annuity allows us to know while our 401(k)s and IRAs might be switching and our benefits fluctuating, we can still depend on the guaranteed income of annuities once we reach retirement. I’m doing something stable for the future while my job situation is fluctuating.

The market downturns won’t drain my pot of gold I’m planning to use during retirement.
People my age have seen what can happen to money in the stock market and how quickly it can be lost. I witnessed it in 2008 and prefer stability and guarantees. We like knowing our money has potential to grow at different rates every year, but that it will never be lower than the amount we’re putting in. No matter what, our pots of gold will be there when we get to the end of the rainbow. (Granted we do read and follow the fine print.)

We’re likely to live much longer lives than our parents and grandparents.
My grandma lived to be 103 before her passing in 2013, so genetically (and by the grace of God), I can justifiably plan on living well into my retirement. While my Roth IRA offers me a source of income I know is growing and I can draw on later, there is a big chance it will run out of money before I die. With the current state of Social Security, I can’t rely on it to augment my 401(k), so investing in a financial vehicle that guarantees me income until the day I die and allows me to possibly pay for long-term care or a vacation with my grand kids when I’m 90 sounds very appealing.

I understand my money should be invested more aggressively and in riskier portfolios, but what’s so wrong with allotting some money to annuities? Sometimes the place to look for new business is at the beginning. According to a TIAA-CREF retirement survey, providing guaranteed monthly income and ensuring savings will be safe regardless of what happens in the market are the top two goals of Millennials, so why not take advantage of this opportunity and expand the demographics of your business? Establishing solid relationships and providing sound savings advice to my generation can potentially provide a profitable future for you and your clients.

Check back next month for part two in the multi-part series of “Making It with Millennials,” where I’ll explain the best ways to reach the millennial audience and recommend a variety of actions you can implement at your business.


CP-0474 – 2015/7/16

Related terms: Annuities, Market Niches


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