Annuities have always been a desirable retirement vehicle. Because of the ever-present fear of outliving their money, retirees have turned to annuities because of their promise to provide “an income that you cannot outlive.” However, annuities have many other benefits than just providing an income for life. Let’s review some of these benefits.
Simply put, life insurance protects against dying too soon, while annuities provide against living too long.
[Preface: As insurance and financial planning professionals, we are required and mandated by Hawaii state law to go through 20 hours of continuing education every two years. The following information comes directly from my study materials provided by WebCE and TestSmart. May it give you a better understanding of the key differences between annuities and life insurance.]
From 1924 to 1930, Harry Heilmann worked in the off-baseball season as a licensed insurance agent. He was a star baseball player with the Detroit Tigers and was the Batting champion four times with them. As a result he became very good friends with Babe Ruth, and in fact sold one or more annuity policies to the Babe (and his girlfriend then wife Clara Mae Merritt Hodgson). The Babe had Heilmann come to New York and complete these annuity purchases in 1924 to 1930. the Babe and Mrs. Ruth subsequently started taking $1000 a month withdrawals from these accounts right after the Great Depression to maintain their lifestyle.
Purportedly there may have been more than one annuity contract and more than one annuity (life insurance) company used. These accounts were started with approx. $35,000; and $50,000. each beginning as early as 1924 and the last one in early 1929.
In retrospect, the “Babe” must have seemed like a financial mastermind back when it was all crashing around. His decision to transfer money from more “risky” investments into safer ones was sheer genius.