Today's headlines continue to echo a crisis mode even though more than 200 million Americans have been vaccinated and many parts of the country are returning to a "new normal." Schools are going back to in-person learning, businesses are reemerging as job growth continues and consumer spending increases, and social gatherings are becoming more prevalent. As a result of this unprecedented time in modern history and the continued uncertainty before us, consumers now more than ever need education, guidance and support to successfully protect and prepare for their financial future.
In 2020, we saw firsthand how quickly the markets can change and how the unexpected can impact all corners of the globe. The pandemic served as a solemn reminder of the importance of having a plan in place to provide secure retirement income. These circumstances put a special importance on this year's National Annuity Awareness Month initiative and how we're working to expand the conversation about annuities to reinforce the importance of retirement security using many ideas, technologies and sales tools now available.
A recent Pew Research Center analysis of monthly labor force data found retirements among baby boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) to have accelerated during the pandemic. After a decade of seeing approximately 2 million more boomers retire each year, data from the third quarter of 2020 indicated 3.2 million more boomers had retired for the year as compared to 2019. Many factors contributed to this increase, from those seeking to avoid exposure to COVID-19, to those impacted by significant nationwide job loss, to those experiencing a carpe diem moment due to the pandemic's daily reminders of mortality.
In addition to these factors, the absolute staggering complexity of variables including volatility, interest rates, government interventions, regulations, inflation and healthcare ramifications will impact client behavior and subsequent modifications of that behavior. As we look at all these issues, we as an industry must be instrumental in helping clients become aware of long-term solutions to help ameliorate the specter of being unprepared for what lies ahead.
While individuals of all ages and circumstances have been affected by this crisis, those close to or in retirement have more significant challenges ahead knowing they do not have the luxury of time to make up for any substantial losses that may have impacted their retirement savings. In addition, those who relied on retirement savings to bridge a temporary financial gap or were unable to contribute to retirement savings due to financial challenges are further vulnerable. One of the bedrocks of National Annuity Awareness Month is the distribution of information and resources to Americans facing all of these circumstances who can benefit from the value proposition of annuities.
In particular, fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) are an important solution for clients as advisors help them understand the current landscape and mitigate potential pitfalls of the future. The FIA is an important tool in asset allocation to help meet both accumulation and preservation goals because of its unique ability to allow growth without direct exposure to volatile equity markets; simultaneously it can provide a more robust return over the long term than traditional low-risk products like bank CDs (certificates of deposit).
What's more, with the current interest rate environment still at historic lows, it can be difficult to guarantee how a retiree might enjoy predictable lifetime income. FIAs often feature income riders, either inherent to the contract or available for a fee, that provide guaranteed lifetime income and the flexibility of an accumulation period that allows clients to determine when to turn on a stable income stream during their respective lifetime. The FIA is critical for those planning for their retirement years and is one strategy that the education campaign of National Annuity Awareness Month seeks to provide clarity around and to highlight as a useful tool in the retirement planning toolbox.
The Covid-19 crisis has elevated the need to provide stability for a portion of one's nest egg so that it is not subject to a future crisis likely to occur during a 20- to 30-year retirement. In addition, the stability of a consistent income stream during retirement helps deliver financial security. One of our main goals of National Annuity Awareness Month is to make sure Americans are aware of annuity product options, the importance of planning, the value of working with a financial professional and the need for education as we seek to rebound from the pandemic and collectively improve our financial outlook.
Throughout the month of June, we encourage you to engage with NAFA and the work the industry is doing to promote National Annuity Awareness Month and a whole host of educational initiatives that we'll unveil. Visit AnnuRetirement.com for tools, resources and events happening and to pledge your support for this important campaign. In addition, we invite you to attend our virtual Annuity Leadership Forum June 15-17 to discuss key issues impacting retirement savings and income. Though there is no vaccine for a lack of retirement preparedness, education, planning and leveraging products like FIAs can help provide a pathway to ensure a brighter future for us all.
Charles J. DiVencenzo, Jr.
President & CEO, NAFA