Annuities, Reverse Mortgages, Financial Experts

You may recall prior Serpent installments in the Levitt Letter in which I quoted respected financial columnists who decried the pitfalls and shortcomings of annuities and reverse mortgages.

Recently, those same experts have begun acknowledging the favorable evolution of these two vehicles, not that they’re ideal for everyone, of course. Reverse mortgages and annuities can be too expensive for the benefits they deliver, depending on each investor’s alternatives.

Recent headlines from financial sages include:

  • Reverse Mortgage May Ease Retirement
  • New Math on Reverse Mortgages
  • Annuities Only One Part of Retirement Puzzle
  • Are Annuities Good or Bad? depends on the Type

Wise as a Serpent is a bimonthly column that leapfrogs with the Note from Mark. In the next few months, individual Serpent pieces will explore anew the pluses and minuses of annuities and reverse mortgages.

Several decades ago, I received a management degree from The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. In 2000, I learned the hard way how quickly a corrupt stockbroker can profit handsomely while losing all of an investor’s money…and, in 2002, how very little recourse consumers have, thanks to brokerages mandating arbitration agreements that lead to what amount to “show trials.”

Now I have 27 years of experience managing ZLM’s business concerns and for years have answered the calling to improve Levitt Letter readers’ personal stewardship along with that of this ministry. Most other nonprofits avoid the awkward topic of their donors’ own finances in favor of unabated fundraising. Hopefully, you appreciate our different approach and, when the wisdom I relay from top gurus helps you sidestep certain traps set by the financial (dis?)services industry, you’ll share back some of the wealth.

Scott Burns is my favorite financial advisor because he succinctly explains what laymen most often miss when they rely too heavily on advice from commissioned salesmen—certified or not—particularly the ones who neglect to disclose their conflicts of interest. Scott is an MIT graduate and seasoned expert who writes a syndicated column that appears in many newspaper business sections. To quickly educate yourself on a wide To array of consumer financial topics, see his concise articles.

Larry Burkett (1939–2003) was a tremendous Christian financial advisor back in the day. Now Dave Ramsey seems to have picked up where Larry left off. Aside from his national radio show, Dave is famous for his “7 Baby Steps” to taking control of your money. Dave seems to speak more to the younger, struggling households while Scott’s insights often appeal to those who are older and approaching or living through retirement. Both advisors are honorable mensches so far as I can tell, and Larry probably would agree.