Four things to know about fixed annuities and how they can create a Personal Pension

If you have not done so already, please review the page: What is a Personal Pension?

1Your assets are safe

The fixed annuities that make up a Personal Pension are are custodied, managed, and guaranteed by large, well-established insurers with top financial ratings. Harbor hopes to remain your software partner of choice for monitoring, contextualizing, and adding to your holdings, but it's at your option to work with us. Even if you stop working with Harbor's software, your assets will be safe with the highly rated insurer backing the annuity contracts underlying your Personal Pension.

2Fixed annuities can be tax-deferred

Individuals can build a Personal Pension of fixed annuities inside a tax-deferred account (IRA or 401k), and can fund it like they would any other account: with a rollover or a new contribution.

3What is Harbor's role?

Harbor is a software company providing digital tools to educate on and plan for guaranteed lifetime income in retirement. We enhance the retirement income discussion between financial professionals and their clients.

4It's the foundation of your diversified savings

A well-balanced portfolio is important for any retirement. A Personal Pension provides peace of mind and a guarantee that your retirement income will never fall below a certain level. We suggest that ~20% of your assets be saved in a Personal Pension as the cornerstone of the low-risk portion of your portfolio. Other investments like equities, real estate, and bonds can be used to make up the balance of your portfolio. You should consult a financial advisor to discuss your specific situation.

Additional Questions

General

What is the difference between a Personal Pensionof fixed annuities and my company's Fidelity/Vanguard/Schwab retirement account?
Unlike traditional investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), the income value of your Personal Pension savings are guaranteed for life, from the moment you contribute or exercise an income rider. Your payments will never decrease, even if there is a recession. And you'll never deplete your savings even if you live to be well over 100.
How much of my money should I contribute to a Personal Pension?
That is entirely up to the individual. Our general rule of thumb is that, at a bare minimum, everyone should have at least $5,000 / year of guaranteed income, for all the essentials. You should discuss with your qualified financial and insurance advisors to determine the level that is rigth for you.
Why do you need my age to set up my Personal Pension?
Your age today determines how long the insurance company has to grow your contribution. If you are younger, you'll give them more time and your resulting income will be higher.
What is the maximum amount I will be paid?
Theoretically, unlimited. Lifetime income payments stop when you stop.
Who has custody over my savings/manages my pension?
Highly rated insurance companies with expertise in managing risk and extremely low potential to default.
What happens if the insurer goes bankrupt?

You may lose your contributions. Bear in mind this is extremely unlikely. Insurance companies are heavily regulated by state and federal agencies, who monitor and review insurers’ financial health and ability to meet obligations under a variety of market conditions.

Finally, the types of insruance contracts likely to underlie your Personal Pension have never defaulted in history, including during the 2008 recession. In the unlikely event an insurer does go bankrupt, policyholders are given first priority to be paid back - ahead of shareholders and executives.

Contributions

What fees and expenses are associated with fixed annuities?

The insurance company charges fees to manage the assets and provide a lifetime income guarantee. Your financial advisor also receives a one-time commission in selling you a contract, typically in the 4% range.

Whatever the fees are, they are already included in the projected performance of the contract. Where you receive a quote of lifetime income, you are quoted the amount you will receive, net of fees.

How does Harbor make money?
We are paid by financial advisors to forward consumer leads we source through our webstie. We are also paid by financial advisors for the use our planning an contextualization software.
What if I want to withdraw my money?

Depending on the final contract decided on by you and your advisor, there can be different rules governing the your ability to withdraw your funds and any accumulate balance, should there be one.

Your should discuss with a financial professional during the setup process.

Are ongoing contributions mandatory?
No. Once your contracts are set up contributions are optional. You can make as many or as few contributions as you want.
How will payouts be made in retirement?
Direct deposit to a bank account or a check through the mail, depending on individual preference.

Taxes

How do I fund a Personal Pension of fixed annuities?
A 401k, an IRA, earnings, savings, or other investments can all be used to contribute to a fixed annuities.
What's the difference between a qualified and non-qualified contract?

Being "qualified" means the contract is funded using pre-tax retirement savings. Typically you fund it by rolling over savings you already hold in a 401(k), IRA, or similar retirement plan. It can also be funded with a $5,500 annual IRA contribution, if the individual is eligible and has not already made that contribution to another account in 2017.

Non-qualified annuities are funded from an after tax source, which is basically everything other than retirement savings: savings accounts, sale of a house, sale of stocks/bonds.