The month of June is meaningful to me as the anniversary of when I first opened the heavy front door and dashed up the stairs to start my first job in publishing only a few weeks after I graduated from high school.
In the years since then, I have interviewed hundreds of people, attended a seemingly endless list of meetings, and probably asked a million questions in a quest for information to publish.
But during an interview for one of InsuranceNewsNet’s June features, the tables turned on me for perhaps the first time. Someone asked me a question for a change.
It happened when I interviewed Elliott Appel, founder of Kindness Financial Planning, for this month’s In The Field section. We were discussing the concept of kindness and how Appel weaves it into a practice serving a clientele that desperately needs kindness and grace — widows and caregivers. As the conversation wound down, Appel asked me this question:
“What act of kindness did someone do for you that had the greatest impact on your life?”
I took a deep breath and thought about the answer.
Annuities Maintain Their Momentum
The world has been kind to annuities despite the market enduring every kind of gut punch imaginable. That’s a key takeaway from this month’s cover feature that ties in to our annual observance of June as Annuity Awareness Month. Annuity sales are at their highest levels in more than a decade.
Americans are looking at high inflation, rising interest rates and market volatility, and deciding that annuities provide one way to ease their anxiety over having sufficient and reliable income in retirement. Washington is paying attention as well, with the House recently voting to pass the Strong Retirement Act of 2022, known colloquially as SECURE 2.0, with overwhelming bipartisan support. SECURE 2.0 was in Senate hands as of press deadline, with backers confident it will follow a similar path as its predecessor legislation.
At a time when government seems more polarized than ever, retirement savings legislation seems to be one area of agreement between Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
SECURE 2.0 makes it easier for plans to offer annuities by tweaking required minimum distribution requirements for annuity options. Likewise, the bill makes qualified longevity annuity contracts, or QLACs, more attractive by increasing the amount of retirement savings a client can use to buy one.
Senior Editor John Hilton goes into more detail on what the rest of 2022 will do for the annuity market in this month’s cover story.
Retirement is touted as a time that’s carefree. At least, that’s the way retirement is depicted in all the financial services industry’s advertising aimed at the age group that is approaching their post-employment years. You see images of older folks relaxing on the beach or fishing in a mountain stream, playing with their grandchildren or taking that once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
But for many who are approaching retirement, the prospect of saying good-bye to working life fills them with dread. It doesn’t have to be that way, Moshe Milevsky tells us in this month’s Interview section.
Milevsky has made a name for himself by studying the evolution of retirement insurance and annuity products over the centuries. He believes that advisors can relieve clients’ fears around retirement by building a portfolio that considers their biological age and their support systems as well as their financial needs. And annuities are a crucial part of the plan. Read more in his interview with Publisher Paul Feldman.
And The Answer Is …
Now that you’ve read this far, you probably want to know my answer to Elliott Appel’s question on the act of kindness that had the greatest impact on my life. Here it is.
A couple of months after my college graduation, I moved 125 miles from home to take a job as a newspaper reporter. I didn’t know anyone in my new town, and I was eager to change that situation. As my first week in my new job came to a close, a coworker invited me to have
Sunday dinner at her home. I was excited and grateful to accept.
When I arrived at her home on Sunday, I discovered that my coworker had invited five or six of her friends to have dinner as well. I hit it off with them right away. When dinner was over, they invited me to go swimming at a nearby lake the following Saturday. And then one of them invited me to join the group for dinner the Friday after that. Soon they introduced me to some of their other friends and family members, and things snowballed from there. Before I knew it, I had a tribe of friends and a busy social life. All because someone thought I might be lonely and she invited me to dinner.
If there’s a moral to this story, it’s that you never know when a simple invitation or other act of kindness can make an impact on someone’s life. What act of kindness can you do today?