What Will Be Covered in this Annuity Review?In this annuity review, we will be covering the following information about the Sentinel Security Life Personal Choice Plus Annuity:
- Product type
- Current rates
- Realistic long-term return expectations
- How this annuity is best used
- How it is most poorly used
Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in. We make the complex, simple.
If you have been thinking about getting an annuity that can allow you to keep your principal safe, while at the same time also allowing you the opportunity to attain a nice, index-linked return on your money, then the Sentinel Security Life’s Personal Choice Plus fixed index annuity may be a good vehicle for you. But, before you dive right into this – or any other similar product, it is important to get a more in-depth understanding of how the product works, and how it may – or may not – end up working for you and your overall financial plans. Throughout the past several years – and especially since the market and economic downturn of 2008 – annuities have become quite popular as a means for providing a guaranteed lifetime income stream in the future. Because of this, the number of financial and insurance sales reps who are offering these types of products has also increased. This, however, it not necessarily a good thing, though. One reason for this is because, as the array of annuity features and benefits continues to expand, advisors may not always fully understand what it is that they are selling – and in turn, many consumers run the risk of expecting the product to act one way when in reality it won’t. However, digging into more of the product information before you make a commitment can help you to avoid the frustration – and the expense – of putting your hard-earned retirement savings into a product that really doesn’t fit your needs. The good news is that the Annuity Gator specializes in providing annuity reviews, which can help you to either feel better about a purchase decision or in turn, avoid what could end up being a costly mistake.
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information that You Can TrustIf this is your very first visit to our website, then we would like to personally welcome you here to AnnuityGator.com. Here at Annuity Gator, we are a team of experienced financial pros who are intent on offering the most comprehensive and unbiased annuity reviews. We have been at this for a number of years now, and quite a bit longer than any of our competitors out there – and because of that, we’ve become a known and trusted source of annuity information. If you’ve been seeking more information on how annuities work – and how they may work for you – it is likely, then, that you’ve come across many conflicting details about these financial vehicles online. This, however, is not entirely surprising, because there is a lot of confusion about these products – particularly as more products, riders, features, and benefits have come into being. You may also have attended an annuity seminar in the recent past. While there, you may have been offered a free meal in exchange for allowing the presenter to discuss the Sentinel Security Life Personal Choice Plus Annuity, or some other similar product. Afterward, you may even have scheduled a time to meet one-on-one with an advisor in order to move forward with a purchase. That seminar or appointment may even have been the catalyst that eventually led you here to our website. While there are many other sites on the Internet that provide annuity information to consumers, unfortunately, there are some that will attempt to lure you in by offering such bold claims like:
- Low Fees
- High Income Payouts
- Guaranteed Lifetime Income
- Top-Rated Annuity Carriers
Sentinel Security Life’s Personal Choice Plus Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||Personal Choice Plus|
|Issuer||Sentinel Security Life|
|Type of Product||Fixed Indexed Annuity|
|A.M. Best Rating||B++|
|Phone Number||(800) 247-1423|
Opening Thoughts on the Sentinel Security Life Personal Choice Plus AnnuitySentinel Life was initially established in 1948 when a group of Utah funeral directors saw families in need of insurance coverage that was designed to help with paying for final expenses. So, Sentinel Mutual Insurance Company was begun. Throughout the years, a number of additional coverage products were added. Today, the company offers a strong senior market portfolio, which focuses on final expense life insurance coverage and health insurance, as well as fixed annuities. With consistent and solid growth, Sentinel remains well-positioned to continue creating and rolling out new and innovative product solutions. As of year-end 2017, total assets were in excess of $800 million, with a gross annual premium for the year exceeding $350 million. Due to the constant ups and downs of the stock market – particularly over the past ten years or so – the demand for fixed index annuities has risen sharply. One reason for this is because these financial vehicles can provide you with the opportunity to obtain a nice return, while also keeping your principal safe – even in a downward moving market. These products can also provide you with an income stream in retirement that you cannot outlive. So, this sounds pretty nice so far! But, while this may at first glance sound like the best of all worlds, it usually requires that you do a bit more digging so that you know the whole story before you buy. That’s because you don’t want to make a big financial commitment, only to find out too late that this just is not the product for you.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures…This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Sentinel Security Life has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This review is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to purchasing any type of investment or insurance product, it is important that you do your own due diligence and that you consult a properly licensed professional if you should have any specific questions that relate to your individual circumstances. All names, marks, and materials that were used for this review are the property of their respective owners. For more information on how to compare annuities in order to determine which one may be right for you, click here to obtain our free annuity report.
How Sentinel Security Life Describes the Personal Choice Plus AnnuityThe Sentinel Plan Personal Choice Plus Annuity is described as a product that gives you a personalized approach when it comes to growing your retirement assets. This annuity provides you with the power to determine how your retirement will grow by selecting between four different interest crediting methods. These include:
- Monthly Averaging – With this method, the interest rate is based upon the average of the 12 monthly closing values in the S&P 500 over the policy years.
- Annual Point to Point – With this method, the interest rate is based upon the change in the S&P 500 over the policy year. A drop in the market at any time in between the beginning and ending periods will not affect earnings. This option offers you the closest you can get to the market, without exposure to market losses.
- Monthly Sum – With the monthly sum method, the interest rate is based upon monthly changes in the S&P 500. There is a monthly cap, or maximum, with for this account. Here you have the opportunity to earn the highest amount of interest.
- Fixed Interest Rate – There is also a fixed interest rate option. If this is selected, the surrender charge and market value adjustment will be waived on any required minimum distribution. The initial rate will be guaranteed for five years, with a guaranteed minimum interest rate currently set at 1%. This option provides you with the comfort of knowing how much interest you will earn each year.
- Accumulated Interest Withdrawal – This rider waives the surrender charge and the Market Value Adjustment associated with accumulated interest withdrawals.
- Required Minimum Distribution – This rider waives the surrender charge and Market Value Adjustment on any Required Minimum Distribution from tax-qualified plans.
- Death Benefit Feature – This rider waives the surrender charge that is associated with a lump sum payment in case of the death of an owner.
- Preferred 10% Free Withdrawal – This rider waives the surrender charges and the Market Value Adjustment for the first withdrawal per year after the first contract year. The annuitant may withdraw up to 10% of the account value or the required minimum distribution – whichever is greater. (Note here that surrender charges and market value adjustment may apply if the withdrawal exceeds the 10% or the required minimum distribution – whichever is greater – or is there are multiple withdrawals during the contract year).
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this AnnuityIf an insurance or financial advisor has approached you regarding the Sentinel Security Life Plan Personal Choice Plus Annuity, it is very likely that they would have keyed in on certain features of the annuity that can be beneficial to you, such the tax-deferred growth, the protection of principal, and the lifetime income feature. Unfortunately, they may also have left out some of the other elements of this annuity that could be considered drawbacks. (This is especially the case if they are a commissioned sales person and stand to make a nice commission on the sale of this annuity). As an educated consumer, you have probably noticed that insurance and financial services firms do a very good job of ensuring that their products sound very attractive. For instance, based on the above description of the Personal Choice Plus Annuity from Sentinel Security Life, you may have felt that this is the perfect annuity for you. However, if you were to take a closer look at this annuity, you could find that there are some features that won’t work to your advantage, and that there are even others that won’t work at all unless certain parameters have been met. For instance, if you choose the monthly sum crediting option, there is a monthly cap for this account – so in turn, you may find that you really aren’t getting market-like returns on the annuity. Yet, if you go with the fixed interest rate option, you really only have a current guarantee of 1% – which you could match by going with a basic bank savings account, but without surrender charges. You can check out all of the annuity’s “fine print” at the bottom of the product brochure HERE.
What About Any Fees on this Annuity?There can also be various charges and fees that you need to look out for with this annuity. For example, the riders will typically come with fees – including the option to go with the enhanced death benefit. There are also surrender charges imposed if you withdraw more than 10% of the contract’s value during the surrender period, and you do not have one of the riders that waive these charges. Plus, if you take a withdrawal before you turn age 59 ½, you may also have to be mindful of the additional 10% “early withdrawal” charge that you can incur from the IRS. In all, then, your net withdrawal could be quite different from the amount that you take out of the annuity.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Sentinel Security Life Plan Personal Choice Plus AnnuityWhere it works best: This particular annuity will usually work the best for those who are looking for:
- The opportunity to obtain a higher rate of growth
- Safety of principal
- Lifetime income
- Want to fully participate in market gains
- Want or need to access their funds penalty-free within the first 14 years
- Do not intend to use the guaranteed lifetime income feature