Guaranteed lifetime income annuities have been misrepresented and misunderstood, so the misinformation has created of myriad of myths in the public eye that blinds them to the benefits of contractual guarantees.

Watch the interview with Kevin Bard, Investment Advisor, Charter Federal Employee Benefit Consultant and author of “The Retirement Umbrella.”

Guaranteed lifetime annuity income is only as good as the insurance company that issues the contract. So, it’s vital to not only review the ratings of the insurance company, but also its financial balance sheet with your financial advisor. Keep in mind many of the top insurance companies in the world are the strongest financial institutions on the world.

Annuities have been around for a long, long time. Would it surprise you to learn annuities were used in ancient Rome? The word itself comes from the Latin term annua, meaning “annual stipend.” It was a contract that made annual payments. Roman citizens would make a payment into the annua and then receive a fixed annual payment for the rest of their lives. Roman soldiers were paid annuities for their military service; if they died in service, the payment went to their families. It was the emperor’s way of saying, “You fight for us, we’ll guarantee your income will be protected for the rest of your family’s life.”

In more recent times, the Union government used annuities as compensation for soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Annuities became more popular in this country beginning in the early 20th century. Many people of great stature and wealth began to put money into annuities so they would be guaranteed an income for the rest of their lives. Babe Ruth was one of the most prominent. When the stock market crashed in 1929, his income was not affected because he had invested a lot of his money into annuities to protect his income.
In the 21st century, annuities have come of age. They’re no longer the stepchild of traditional investments any longer. Even diehard mutual fund and ETF purveyors have acknowledged their legitimate use in retirement planning as a fundamental foundation to a successful retirement. Annuities have become the economic underpinning of the consumer, using them as their own personal pensions. After all, the Social Security system functions much like a guaranteed lifetime annuity.

But for many seniors with money anxiety, the biggest benefit to a guaranteed lifetime income annuity is the peace of mind some experience knowing the check is deposited every month into their bank account.

(This press release contains segments from chapter one of “The Retirement Umbrella.”)

Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant interviews Investment Adviser Representative and author of the Retirement Umbrella Kevin Bard. Right on the Money is a weekly financial talk show for consumers, distributed as video press releases to 280 media outlets and social media networks nationwide.