Independent Review of the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity
What’s covered in this Review?
In this review, we will be going over more in-depth information on the ProStrategies variable annuity from Guardian Life, such as:
- Product type
- Current rates
- Realistic long term return expectations
- How it is 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.
You might have noticed that, while researching annuities, the Guardian Life Pro Strategies Variable Annuity can perform well in some areas, where there are other circumstances where this particular product may not be the best alternative. When searching for the right annuity for you, it is always important to first consider the goals that you have – both short and long-term – for the product.
Due in large part to the constant ups and downs of the market, variable annuities have fallen somewhat out of favor with some investors. This makes it all that much more important to read the fine print before you move forward with making a purchase.
In doing so, you can determine just exactly how your money may be invested. You can also see where you will be charged, either up-front or ongoing, fees – which can make a big impact on your overall return.
Unfortunately, wading through all of an annuity’s “fine print” can be about as exciting as getting a root canal – and often just as painful! This is because these products come with page after page of technical jargon that can be quite tedious and confusing to get through. This is where we can help, though.
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information that You Can Trust
If this is your first visit to the AnnuityGator.com website, we’d like to personally welcome you here. We are a team of experienced financial professionals who are focused on offering the most comprehensive – and unbiased – annuity reviews. We have been at this for many years – longer than our competitors – and because of that, we’ve become known as a go-to source of annuity information.
There may be any number of reasons why you’ve been seeking more details about annuities online. For example, you may have heard friends or family members discussing these financial products. You may also have recently attended an annuity seminar or workshop, where the presenter showed you information about fixed annuities. Attending that presentation may even be the catalyst that has led you here to our site, in search of additional details.
If you’ve been spending any amount of time at all online looking for annuity info, then it’s likely that you’ve come across some highly conflicting details about these financial vehicles. This, however, is not entirely surprising, because there are a lot of annuities out there, along with a wide range of differing opinions.
Plus, even though there are many good websites on the Internet today which are devoted to marketing annuities, some of these sites may try to “lure” you in with great and wonderful claims about the products they offer, such as:
- High annuity income payouts
- Low fees
- Top-rated annuity companies
- Guaranteed lifetime income
- Fast annuity quotes
For most people, these claims may sound very appealing. However, it is still absolutely essential that you first determine if they are really true. We can help you to do just that. So, if you’re seeking additional details about the Guardian Life ProStrategies variable annuity, then keep reading on, and you will get all of the details you need right here.
When you go through this review, though, you are apt to discover that we don’t just highlight the good points about the annuity, but rather we also point out the key considerations that you need to know. That way, you will be in a much better position to decide if this is the annuity you want to go with, or if you should stay away from this particular product and check out some other potential options that could be better for you.
Unfortunately, insurance and financial representatives who offer variable annuities to their clients will often do their very best to paint you a nice rosy picture of how much growth they may be able to produce. However, they may neglect to also give you the “other side of the coin,” such as the additional risk, which you may only find out after you’ve made a commitment to purchase the product….at which point it can be too late.
Just to be perfectly clear, here, we think that annuities can be a viable option for many investors. However, just as with any other type of financial vehicle, all annuities – in fact, even all variable annuities – are not exactly the same. So, you have to ensure that you are going with a product that fits your goals and needs the best.
So, if you’re ready to start, let’s go ahead and dive in!
Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity
|Issuer||Guardian Life Insurance Company|
|Type of Product||Variable Annuity|
|S&P Rating||AA+ (Very Strong)|
|Phone Number||(888) 482-7342|
Opening Thoughts on the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity
Guardian Life has been in the insurance and financial protection arena for more than 150 years. As a mutual company, Guardian is owned by its policy holders, who share in the company’s financial results via annual dividends.
As of year-end 2016, Guardian held in excess of $66 billion in assets under management and had $600 billion of life insurance in force. During that year, the company paid out nearly $5.9 billion in benefits to its policy holders, while holding roughly $7.4 billion in capital, and taking in nearly $12 billion in premiums and deposits. So, suffice it to say that Guardian is strong and stable financially.
The rating agencies are responsible for gauging the financial strength of companies so that investors, policy holders, and partners can work with the facts. Guardian has received high ratings from the four primary rating companies, including:
- A++ from A.M. Best Company
- AA+ from Fitch
- Aa2 from Moody’s Investor Service
- AA+ from Standard & Poor’s
The company has also received a Comdex Ranking of 98 out of 100.
Overall, variable annuities are designed to perform two key tasks – growing principal and producing income. But in reality, these annuities are not really all that good at the income part. One reason for this is because of the risk that variable annuities can present – both to their investors, as well as to the insurance companies that offer them
With that in mind, because of variable annuities constant fluctuations, it is not uncommon for the insurance carriers that offer them to guarantee a lower amount of income than they do for the “safer” annuity alternatives such as fixed or fixed indexed products.
Plus, while you certainly have the opportunity to grow your funds, and increase your return, through a variable annuity, you also need to keep a close eye on the charges and fees that these products are famous for, as they could have a substantial impact on your overall return.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some necessary legal disclosures…
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Guardian Life has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This annuity review is meant solely to be an independent review at the request of our readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to committing to the purchase of any type of insurance and/or investment vehicle, it is critical that you do your own due diligence, and that you also talk with a properly licensed professional if you have any questions that relate to your specific situation. All of the names, materials, and marks that have been used in compiling this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
For additional information on how to compare fixed annuities so that you can decide which may be the best one for you, click here in order to obtain our free annuity report.
How Guardian Describes the ProStrategies Variable Annuity
Guardian Life describes its ProSeries line of variable annuities as offering a broad array of investment strategies so that you can build an optimal portfolio in order to meet your needs.
These annuities offer 30 variable investment options across four different investment strategies, such as traditional investment options, risk managed options, sector focused options, and alternative investment options.
For example, the ProStrategies annuity, you can choose from
These annuities offer tax-deferred growth, along with the ability to secure future lifetime income via the Guardian SecureFuture Income rider – at no additional premium cost. There are also several death benefit options that you can choose from in order to protect your beneficiaries financially.
How a Financial Advisor Might Pitch this Annuity
Given the numerous different investment options with the ProStrategies annuity from Guardian, it is likely that a financial or insurance advisor would pitch the diversification that can be garnered from this annuity in order to meet a variety of different needs. You can also make transfers among the variable investment options at any time.
There are also some additional features that an advisor might highlight, such as the death benefit. Here you have the choice of either a standard death benefit or an enhanced death benefit rider that could provide even more funds for your beneficiaries.
But, if your primary purpose for purchasing this annuity is to count on the lifetime income benefit, we recommend that you first consider the fact that the projected income could be even less than that of a fixed annuity alternative – yet without all of the potential sleepless nights due to market downturns.
Overall, because there is no “perfect” product or investment, it is important to know clearly what your priorities are right from the beginning. This is especially the case before you move forward with signing an annuity contract because once you are in, it can be difficult – and costly – to get out.
It can be difficult to know which annuity will be the best one for you and your specific circumstances. But it can be helpful to know some key tips when shopping for this type of product click here in order to obtain our free annuity shopper’s guide so that you can feel more confident in your decision going forward.
What About the Fees on the ProStrategies Annuity from Guardian Life?
In general, variable annuities have a pretty bad rap for a number of fees that they charge. This is because you not only have to be cognizant of the charges from the annuity itself but also those that are charged from the investments that are inside of the annuity.
According to the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity prospectus, the expenses that are incurred in this annuity include:
- Contract Charges – There is an administrative charge and a daily mortality and expense risk charge. These are calculated at an annual rate of 0.60% of the accumulation value in the variable investment options.
- Operating Expenses for Mutual Funds – The management fees, 12b-1 fees, and other expenses associated with the funds that you may pay while owning the contract can range between 0.50% to 9.38%. (These, however, could change at any time).
You could also incur additional charges, such as:
- Death benefit rider charge
- Return of premium death benefit rider expense
- Return of premium plus death benefit rider expense
- Combination of death benefit riders expense
- Premium taxes (in some areas)
In addition, if you want or need to withdraw more than 10% of your annuity’s contract value, you can also incur a surrender charge.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity
Where it works the best:
- If you’re seeking the opportunity for a higher, market-related return
- If you are looking for more control and diversification for what your annuity funds are invested in
- If you want to have a set income stream in retirement
Where it works the worst:
- If you have a low tolerance for risk
- If you want your principal to be protected
- If you do not plan on using the lifetime income feature
When you are thinking about any type of financial vehicle, it is important to first determine what your goals and needs are. In doing so, you will be in a much better position to go through the process of weeding out the products that don’t fit your plan.
With regard to the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity, there are certainly some beneficial attributes, such as a variety of investment options, and the ability to diversify your holding within the account.
Likewise, you are also allowed to grow your annuity funds in a tax-advantaged manner, which can allow your money to grow and compound over time. And, if you do plan to use the guaranteed lifetime income, this can help to rid the worry of running out of money before you run out of time.
However, in order to really know if this particular annuity will be a good fit for you is to have it tested. We can do this for you. The calculator and resulting spreadsheet are free. So, if you are interested, please let us know and we will be happy to run the figures for you.
Have Any Additional Questions on the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity? Did You Notice Any Mistakes?
Admittedly, this annuity review ran a tad bit long – so we truly appreciate you sticking with us here. Our thought is that we would much rather provide you with “too much” information than not enough.
If you did feel that this annuity review was helpful, then, by all means, please feel free to forward it on to anyone else that you think might also benefit from it. Alternatively, if this review brought forth, even more, questions, then please also let us know.
Also, as many humans do, we can at times make mistakes. So, if you happened to notice any mistakes in this review, please send us a message here via our secure online contact form so that we can make the corrections as soon as possible.
Would you like to see any other annuities reviewed?
No problem! Just simply let us know that, too, and we will get our team of qualified annuity “geeks” on the case and have more reviews available on our website soon.
The Annuity Gator