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2013 Update: The Indexed Annuities that I discuss below have turned out to be one of my better investments. I put in $10,000 in 2004 in a 13-year annuity, have withdrawn $1000 almost every year, and still have a balance of $8000. I wish now I'd put $100,000 in, but I think I'm a little late (age 72) for another 13-year investment. If you're in your 50s, you might want to look into it.
2004 Update: Up until now, I've really given no investment advice in this area. I tell you how to play the market (if you want to) and I tell where to look for advice. When I first created this page in late 1999, the Stock Market and Self-Directed IRAs were THE THING! With the looong Bear market that we've had, things have changed and so has my portfolio. I've gotten into a few Mutual Funds, a little Gold, etc. BUT, RECENTLY, I ATTENDED A GREAT SEMINAR! I learned about some new things, like Indexed Annuities (invented in 1994) and Long-Term Care Annuities (invented in 2003).
CLICK HERE to scroll to the bottom of this page and read more about them.
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Here, in 100 words or less, I'm going to tell you everything I know about Indexed Annuities. Basically, they are like CDs in that you can't lose your investment, but they're like equities in that you can make a whole lot more than the 3% or whatever is being paid on CDs. I did a Yahoo! Search on "indexed annuities" and got over 27,000 hits, so I'm not going to put alot of detail here. Whatever you want to know is out there somewhere. One of the better websites is annuityadvantage.com, where they have some really basic info on these investments and list over 300 with details on how each works. To quote their definition "An equity-indexed annuity is an annuity that earns interest that is linked to a stock or other equity index. One of the most commonly used indices is the Standard & Poor's 500 Composite Stock Price Index (the S&P 500)." The seminar that I attended was presented by Paul McCarthy and Julie McCarthy Decker. I later went to visit them and invested in a 13-year annuity. I get 100% of the S&P increases to a max of 2.5% per month, my profits are locked in annually, and I can withdraw up to 10% per year without penalty. If you're interested, feel free to contact Paul and Julie. I especially like their policy of providing their investors with free annual investment evaluations. They're financial advisors and will give your their opinion on everything in your portfolio, with no pressure to act on any of their advice. I'm only including this info here because I've been looking for investments that are somewhat more stable than the stock market, but pay better than CDs. This appears to be it! If you have any opinions on Indexed Annuities, feel free to email me at the usual email@example.com.
Annuity Assist presents both positive and negative features of annuities in general, with emphasis on negatives