Everyone Should Have Access

May 2, 2023

Americans want the protection and certainty that annuities offer.

Last year, annuity sales in the United States were nearly $313 billion, shattering the previous record of $265 billion.

It’s no secret why so many Americans, once they are introduced to the benefits, choose annuities as part of their retirement strategy. With fewer employers offering traditional lifetime pension benefits and today’s uncertain economy, the importance of lifetime guaranteed income has never been greater.

Financial professional Valerie LaRoque from Seattle has seen it firsthand.

“A lot of times lately I’ve been hearing from clients that they are concerned about outliving their money, that their money is going to run out, especially with all the stock market volatility that’s been going on lately,” she said.

LIMRA expects annuity demand to remain strong for the next several years. It is critical that Americans in every income bracket retain ready access to information about annuities.

But the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has other ideas.

The DOL is considering reviving a fiduciary-only regulation that will make information and access about annuities and other financial products unavailable for many working  Americans. Workers who lack savings of $100,000 or more, the amount required by most fiduciaries to provide information and guidance, would be unable to get support from financial professionals who work on the basis of one-time commissions.

Making it harder for Americans to get help with retirement income makes no sense, especially since many already don’t think they can get help on money matters.

The DOL’s proposal would prevent many American workers, including most Black and Hispanic Americans, from accessing information about retirement savings products. The median retirement savings for Black and Hispanic households is less than $30,000. The DOL should not make it harder for hard-working Americans to access information about achieving financial certainty through retirement with annuities.

Financial professional Kenyata Moore from Indianapolis said it best: “I believe everybody should have access to us for guidance. Financial professionals never came to my school, never came to my parents’ home. They had no idea how to handle their money, how to invest it at that time. So, I don’t want that to be the case.”

“I feel like my community in particular is very underserved in this community. So reaching out and talking to people who’ve never had the option of sitting down with someone, who’ve never had even a thought about retirement or a thought about sending their kids to college because they didn’t think they could ever afford it, and showing them that there are ways, there are ways that we can start with a little and keep going and growing and growing, and you have that opportunity.”

Diane Boyle

Diane R. Boyle is the senior vice president of government relations for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Her responsibilities include the development and implementation of legislative and regulatory strategy, and daily execution of association activities to provide advocacy services for insurance and financial professionals to support a private, competitive insurance marketplace.