Everyone is seeking the ideal investment: 20% annual returns, 100% safe, 100% liquid. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t exist.

Today with 10 year treasury bonds paying in the range of 1.5% in the USA and nearly .7% NEGATIVE rates in Germany (one of the world’s most important economies), retirees have never had tougher choices on where to place their retirement money. Looking for long term safety today, retirees can barely find a 2% return, let alone 20%.

Rolling over your 401k into an IRA can help you lower your fees and gain control of your financial destiny–but where can you get income of five to nine percent for life?

No matter where you place the bulk of your retirement money, you know that it needs to be safe enough to allow you to sleep at night. In the old days, bonds were paying six percent to eight percent while bank CDs and money markets paid 5 percent. Those rates made retirement decisions easier and gave a conservative retiree $60,000 to $70,000 annually from a million dollar IRA. On a three hundred thousand dollar IRA in the past, retirees could find $18,000 a year of safe income ($1,500 a month.)

The landscape has gone dry and bare for bond investors looking to live off the interest. Bonds are officially paying poverty rates and it could worse. As government debts swell to even more dangerous levels, could it be the grand plan is for all government bonds to head toward the negative range? Something has to give because politicians keep spending your money and mine without concern for the future.

With a Next Generation Fixed Index Annuity which includes a lifetime income guarantee, alert retirees finally have a solution. Rather than the old fashioned annuities that required annuitizing (ugh), today’s new generation of annuities with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) allow for a lifetime maintenance-free income without handing your principal over to the life insurance company. Your principal still belongs to you. You control it. And the insurance company does not keep it when you die.

Very few investments in this world are maintenance-free. Sure, you can forget about your mutual funds for five or ten years, but if you have chosen the wrong ones and the world’s economy leaves you in the dust, your lack of attention will cost you money. And, if you are transitioning from the accumulation phase (working years) to the income phase (retirement), how long will your money last in a pile of risky mutual funds? Answer: not very long if we get another 2008 crash.

We all know that taking steady withdrawals from a declining balance is financial suicide. If you begin taking 5% annually from your investments and they get cut in half by a crash, you suddenly are taking 10% annually to get the same income. Since that is unsustainable, most likely you will cut back on your lifestyle, putting a damper on your dreams and plans.

The real problem that evolves from withdrawing steady income from up-and-down assets is the amount of maintenance, fuss, and worry that is required. If your principal is bouncing around and then starts heading south, you will have to watch it virtually every day. Is that how you want to spend your retirement? Golf and traveling sound like so much more fun that monitoring assets!

With a Next Generation Fixed Index annuity backed up by an insured GLWB (Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit), you can put your income on cruise control. You can stop worrying and start living your life. Even if the market crashes by 50%, your income will not be affected in any way. More important, the annuity income can be the equivalent of 5% to 9% for life, allowing you to allocate less money to fixed income, and more to other investments (like dividend growth stocks.)

One more added benefit of the GLWB income rider: it is maintenance free and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Even if it is your IRA, your spouse can enjoy the same income you receive after you pass away. By the way, your principal can continue to grow with no fuss and no muss. Today’s Next Generation index annuities offer uncapped index strategies which take investment losses off the table. You share in upward movements of the index and lock them in every year. When the market falls, you do not lose and you keep what you have already been credited with.

If you are looking for a safe, high income, low maintenance retirement asset, explore this option. You can use it for part or all of your IRA rollover from a 401(k), 403(b), 457, or TSP retirement plan. Both spouses can benefit from one spouse’s IRA.

Retirement decisions can be easy again when you use the right tools and have the right blueprint. I help my clients compare the nation’s best annuities and create written financial plans that incorporate your social security, investments, annuities, and any pensions you may have into a clear blueprint and road map for the future. Let’s make life simple again–I’ll show you how.

Steve Jurich (pronounced Jur-itch) is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, Investment Advisor Representative, and a Kiplinger® Contributor. He hosts the popular daily radio program MASTERING MONEY on Money Radio (AM 1510 @ 8am and 11am M-F) and on podcast 24/7.
Annuities are issued by life insurance companies and come in many varieties. Surrender charges may apply for a period of time if withdrawals exceed 7% to 10%. Guarantees rely upon the financial strength of the issuing insurer.