The times, they are a-changing. War, pandemic, inflation, recession, oil shortages, housing markets, liquidity in the markets. These and thousands of other factors can make the stock market a wild ride for some, and downright devastating for others.
The markets do go up on average if you look at 20- and 30-year horizons. To put it in perspective, nothing that happened in 1980 or 2000 has had a detrimental effect on people’s wealth today, unless they bailed and cashed out their holdings and missed the upside.
Professional advisors who are fiduciaries would typically say that time in the market is more important than timing the market. Having a professional watch over your assets and being well diversified are hallmarks of sound investment advice.
As part of most of these recommendations, especially for retirees or people with significant assets in self-directed IRAs or 401ks, the closer you get to needing income from your portfolio, typically the more the percentage of assets in fixed income goes up typically. A large number of portfolios these days are in ultra-conservative U.S. Treasuries for safety.
I propose that there is, on average, $2 billion worth of assets that are made available every year as people with structured settlements face life circumstances and need to sell at a slight discount. These assets are life insurance products, guaranteed by the issuer, and in most states by the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA). Are these regulatory safety nets as good as Uncle Sam? No, but they are the next best thing in terms of credit. The ratings of the companies whose paper circulates in this market are Berkshire Hathaway, MetLife, New York Life, Prudential, Pacific, and others — all A+ and A++ A.M best rated insurers. Their guarantees have held up through major wars and other global calamities. So, it’s secure paper in my opinion.
So why aren’t investors buying up all this paper? It has been difficult to find future structured settlement payments that are available for purchase. Most advisors and their clients don’t fully understand them well enough to incorporate these assets into a long term investment strategy.
I say replace your low-yielding corporates and Treasuries in exchange for a 20-year guaranteed structured settlement that yields 4.5 percent — a value proposition if you’ve ever seen one. Interested in these “super bonds”? See crowfly.com for inventory.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).