A finance professional’s guide to annuities as a tool for managing income in retirement.
In this debut business book, Haithcock combines clearly written, easy-to-follow advice on purchasing annuities as an investment tool with a pitch for his services as an annuity broker. He explains the purpose of an annuity—using the acronym PILL: Principal protection, Income for life, Legacy, Long-term care/confinement care—and introduces readers to the different products available and the potential advantages and disadvantages of each. Sentences—e.g., “Annuities are in essence contractual guarantees. That is how they should be considered—and in a perfect world, sold”—make the book seem like it’s aimed at an audience just above novice. Haithcock is also straightforward in explaining to readers what annuities are not well-suited for: “No annuity product on the planet will combat hyperinflation. It’s really just that simple, so do not believe any hyperinflation annuity hype or projected number scenarios.” While the book’s factual information is reasonable and delivered in an evenhanded tone, readers may begin to tire of the numerous references to the business and services Haithcock offers, most of which are accompanied in the text by trademark or copyright symbols. The body of the text contains about 30 references to “The AnnuityMan Steakhouse,” Haithcock’s term for his company’s offerings—“Because you should buy an annuity for the steak, not the sizzle”—and the phrase “Stan the Annuity Man” appears even more frequently. Some of Haithcock’s references to himself seem to be tongue-in-cheek, such as the inclusion of his birth on a timeline of events in annuity history. At other times, the salesmanship is simply over-the-top: “Annuity Realityville is a place I never leave. I love living there. It is a place where we only consider the contractual guarantees, and we fully explain and understand the good and the bad of every strategy before we make any decisions.” Readers who approach the book with a degree of skepticism are most likely to find it effective.
A reasonable, coherent explanation of annuities that occasionally reads more like a sales brochure than a personal finance guide.