Great Redesign
Wow! Great redesign! The magazine really looks fantastic.

Robert Foney, director of marketing and public relations, Investors Capital Corp.

Lynnfield, Mass.

More Like That

The latest article by Nick Murray, "The Great Lesson Of 2007" (March 2008), was excellent. I would like to see more articles like this one.

G. Brooks Euler, CFP, ChFC, CLU, Spring Hill, Tenn.

Take A Closer Look

I am currently employed as a wholesaler in the variable annuity industry and have a few comments with regard to the article in the February issue entitled "Something To Live With?" by Jay Kabad. My concern with this article, which extends to almost every article covering living benefits and variable annuities, is that the author is only telling one side of the story.
Mr. Kabad states that in a rising market, the additional fee to guarantee income for life is not worth it, which is absolutely correct. However, when he gives his three case studies to "illustrate" the shortcomings of these products in fluctuating/down markets, he gives absolutely no comparison to how a non-insured managed account or mutual fund portfolio would have paid out in cumulative income or transferred to the owner‚s beneficiaries upon death. How can the readers of your magazine make an objective decision on whether or not their clients could benefit from a VA with a living benefit if they don‚t have a point of comparison?
One very insightful and mathematically rigorous report that every broker/dealer compliance officer and FINRA regulator should read was recently released by Ibbotson and can be found on their Web site at:
I urge you to take a closer look at how variable annuities with a living benefit decrease a client‚s income risk through retirement and not continue to only present half of the story. My final point, which I believe is most important, is to remember that, although complex, living benefits are still only insurance and will hopefully never have to be exercised. The way they should be analyzed, in reality, is as a means of lifestyle protection during unexpected bear markets.

Timothy Bowman,

divisional marketing director
AIG SunAmerica Seasons, Seattle

False Alarm?

In the February issue article "Something to Live With," the author may be sounding a false alarm. In talking about GWB and the relationship to death benefits, the author points out the consequences of a pro-rata rather than a dollar-for-dollar reduction. However, there seem to be many companies, beyond the two mentioned in the article, which still provide dollar-for-dollar. One, for instance is John Hancock. If my information is incorrect, please let me know. I thank the author for making us aware of the issue.

 A. Kirsh,

Kirsh Financial Services Inc., New York