3 Things 4-5

04/05/2021

Although MAS is a financial services company, not everything published herein will be about numbers or investing. But no matter the topic, we hope for three things: 1) That you find the time you spend engaged worthwhile. 2) That you’ll reach out to us for help in any of our areas of expertise if something we discuss creates an urging in you to do so. 3) That you’ll share this with somebody new each time you read it.

Thing One

Why Annuities Are A Bad Idea For Almost Every One

The title above was taken verbatim from a Marketwatch article published a few years ago. Before we summarize, let us first describe what an annuity is with some help from investopedia.com:

An annuity is a financial product that pays out a fixed stream of payments to an individual, and these financial products are primarily used as an income stream for retirees. Annuities are contracts issued and distributed (or sold) by financial institutions, which invest funds from individuals. They help individuals address the risk of outliving their savings. Upon annuitization, the holding institution will issue a stream of payments at a later point in time.

Now, why does the article say they’re bad for almost everyone? Well, “bad” is a relative term here. So, relative to the returns that could be made investing in equities (either individual stocks or low fee funds), annuities come up short. The typical annuity sales pitch is, no downside risk with modest upside potential. In a fixed indexed annuity, for example, if the stock market goes up 20%, the annuity holder might get to participate in 4% of that while, if the market went down by 20%, the annuity holder would not see any reduction in his principal balance. That sounds like a good idea in bad times, and there are definitely bad times, but the market has tended to go up over time and, in fact, the S&P 500 has only been down seven times in all the 10-years periods since 1940.

It should be noted that the target annuity customer is someone at or near retirement who may be more sensitive to the near-term volatility that is inherent in the stock market. The author suggests that a reasonable alternative to an annuity, in that case, would be to invest in perpetual dividend raisers. We suggest you consider your options carefully and get help if you think you need it.

Thing Two

Just Some Facts On The Georgia New Georgia Voting Law

See the first part of the opening paragraph of Section 2 of the new Georgia voting law below:

The General Assembly finds and declares that: (1) Following the 2018 and 2020 elections, there was a significant lack of confidence in Georgia election systems, with many electors concerned about allegations of rampant voter suppression and many electors concerned about allegations of rampant voter fraud; (2) Many Georgia election processes were challenged in court, including the subjective signature-matching requirements, by Georgians on all sides of the political spectrum before and after the 2020 general election; (3) The stress of the 2020 elections, with a dramatic increase in absentee-by-mail ballots and pandemic restrictions, demonstrated where there were opportunities to update existing processes to reduce the burden on election officials and boost voter confidence; (4) The changes made in this legislation in 2021 are designed to address the lack of elector confidence in the election system on all sides of the political spectrum, to reduce the burden on election officials, and to streamline the process of conducting elections in Georgia by promoting uniformity in voting. Several examples will help explain how these goals are achieved;

Now here are a few pertinent facts:

Thirty-six states have voter ID laws and they’ve been upheld by the Supreme Court. In Georgia, an ID is required to vote but a driver’s license is not the only acceptable form of identification. A free, state-issued ID is also acceptable as is a Social Security number, or a current utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, or a paycheck.

The new Georgia law, SB 202, expands voting by adding early voting on more weekends (two required Saturdays and two optional Sundays) and providing additional equipment and poll workers in larger precincts.

Also known as the Election Integrity Act, SB 202 allows poll workers to make water available to people waiting in line to vote. It just doesn’t allow non-poll workers to approach voters in line for any reason. The logic behind the restriction follows the long-established prohibition on campaigning within a defined perimeter of the polling place and is viewed as a necessary deterrent to what might be seen as an opportunity by advocates to do last-minute campaigning or to exchange gifts for favors to people waiting to vote.

And finally, there is no mention of race anywhere in the ninety-eight pages of SB 202.

Thing Three

Just A Thought

"In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell