May 1984. The 10 year United States bond traded at a 14% coupon. The closed at 1115 for the month. This was a rally from its mid 800’s stupor of 1964-1982. Sound familiar. The tragic piece of this story is that the inflation-adjusted value of the Dow Jones over this period fell approximately 50%. Perhaps this too shall prove familiar.
May, 1984 also happens to be my start in financial services. I joined PaineWebber (UBS today), as an aspiring stockbroker. PaineWebber was followed by a career path including Integrated Resources, Planco, before I finally settled for a long stretch at American Skandia.
I’ve had the opportunity to have a front seat at the unraveling of Baldwin United, Petro Lewis, Drexel Burnham and Lehman Brothers. I’ve either worked for principals, partnered with salespeople, called upon, or befriended key players in these companies. My former company, Integrated Resources, at one point was at the heart of the junk bond era.
During the intervening quarter century, variable annuities—my principal product career—grew from $4.8 billion to $182 billion. Fixed annuities—as that 14% bond declined to today’s 3.75% 10 year bond—have not managed to match variable annuity sales pace until 2008—and again in 2009.
My partner, Lincoln Collins, and I have been part of designing product, marketing product, and selling product—either independently or as partners for most of the past 25 years. Interest rates, annual equity performance, and always the specter of 76 million aging baby boomers have influenced product design.
Today, all three dynamics are very much in play. However, at this stage in history there is another dynamic; The American Retirement Crisis. American are deeply troubled by a troubling lack of retirement security.
- 60% believe they will work on average an additional 7 years above their previous expectation to fund their retirement.
- 55% worry about a lack of health insurance after retirement.
- Many are worried about depending upon relatives
Driving this anxiety is the tremendous loss of household net worth suffered by Americans—at its worst, approximately $15 trillion.These two dynamics, markets and a loss of retirement security, intersect to serve as the catalyst for WealthVest Marketing, and this blog, Retirement Crisis. Americans are worried about the safety of their investments, the return of their investment principal, and they share a new found, but pervasive desire to reduce the risk of their investments. Thank you for visiting the WealthVest blog and finding Retirement Crisis. I hope you find the blogs posted here rewarding and thought-provoking.
Wade A. Dokken
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