My name is Scott Brooks.
Our mission at Annuity Resources is to be a source of positive change in the annuity industry.
Annuities are great tools. They are financial tools, retirement “contracts” designed to provide various benefits. But they absolutely must be used correctly.
Here are some of the things we feel need to be changed:
1. An alarming percentage of the advertising in the annuity space is misleading, dishonest, and unethical. Many annuity advertisements promise unrealistic returns. For example, a marketing company in Canada promises consumers 8% annual returns from products where you get "all of the market upside with no downside". This product does not exist. You don't earn 7-9% guaranteed returns in the sub 4% world of 2021. Because annuities are state-regulated, nothing is being done to stop this.
2. Companies that sell annuities tend not to show everything available. Insurance agents favor indexed and variable annuities because they pay the highest commissions. There is not enough attention on fixed annuities and immediate annuities. Why? The commissions to insurance agents are double for the other products. We believe you should have access to everything and decide for yourself!
3. Many consumers don't understand what they are buying. Or own. Don't believe me? Go read 500+ annuity reviews online. Insurance agents sell income rider roll-up rates as actual returns. People don't realize how long their money is locked up for. People don't know how much in fees they are paying in variable annuities. People don’t realize they are paying for riders they might not need. Basically, the root cause is an improper expectation of what annuities can do.
4. The products can be confusing. This confusion leads to people doing nothing. Will Rogers once said, "Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."
5. Many companies don't want to send you the information on annuities you need. I spoke with a "wealth manager" at my local bank last week and asked him how many fixed annuities they had to offer their bank's customers. He said four! Here's the shocker. He was unwilling to send me any information on the 4 products they sold. Instead, he just wanted to pitch them to me in person.
What we plan to do about it:
1. Promote full transparency. We want to provide consumers with trustworthy information. We can't stop other companies from misrepresenting products, but we can get the truth out via this website.
2. Give you control. Our website gives you control over a lot of information you need to make a more informed decision. In many ways, we are taking away control from the "salespeople" and giving the control to you.
2. Reveal problems some don't want you to know. Knowledge is power. If consumers know what to look out for, they will make better decisions.
3. Lead with a giving hand. I have found that if you help someone without expecting anything in return, that is powerful. Hopefully, we can lead with knowledge that leads to lasting change.
4. Shining a spotlight on the best products. You deserve the very best. Why settle for second place? I want to help consumers access the best products the industry has to offer. This is a win-win for both consumers and companies.
5. Simplify annuities. We want to simplify annuities for you. As Steve Jobs once said, "Simple can be harder than complex."
6. Promote the "simple" annuities most advisors and agents don't want to sell. We have found that most companies don't get too excited to promote SPIA's, DIA's, or MYGA's because they pay the lowest commissions. Our business model is simple. We sell these simple products internally with our staff, and if you are interested in index annuities or variable annuities, we will put you in touch with an insurance agent we partner with.
7. Have a network of trusted professionals for those who want help. Not every advisor is the same. If you want to work with a local specialist or are who are interested in products we don't sell, we will have someone for you to speak with.
Scott Brooks, CFP®