The Annuity You Can Start Funding When You’re Young (Blueprint Income’s Personal Pension)

This piece was sponsored by Blueprint Income. However, opinions expressed are our own.

Unlike many working in the personal finance sphere, I have no plans to retire. I love my work as a freelance writer, and I intend to keep at it even if my fingers my fall off and I have to type with my nose.

However, I also know that retirement isn’t necessarily a choice, having seen friends and family members involuntarily retired from well-loved careers because of illness, layoffs, and other factors outside of their control. I recognize that I will one day need retirement income, whether or not I have plans to hang up my (ink-stained) hat.

And the statistics on the rising costs of everything from housing to healthcare in retirement are unsettling enough to make anyone a little nervous, especially if you were burned in the last market correction.

Blueprint-Income-LogoSo if you can’t count on working forever, low inflation, or investment growth, how can you know you’ll have enough income to live on in retirement?

Workers in our parents’ and grandparents’ generation used to have pensions to ease those retirement worries. While the traditional pension has gone the way of the dodo, Blueprint Income (formerly Abaris Financial) is offering a new alternative: the Personal Pension.

Here’s what you need to know about Blueprint Income’s Personal Pension so you can decide if this is the right product for your retirement savings needs.

What Is Blueprint Income's Personal Pension?

Though it has the name pension right in the title, Blueprint Income’s Personal Pension is actually structured like an income annuity. At retirement, you begin receiving a guaranteed monthly check from your Personal Pension for the rest of your life.

What makes this different from a traditional annuity is that you don’t have to cough up an enormous initial deposit in order to purchase this product. Instead, you can start your Personal Pension with an upfront payment as low as $5,000 (and the company hopes to lower that amount in the future), and select an optional monthly contribution amount of at least $100. Select your preferred retirement date, and you’re off to the slow-but-steady races.

Blueprint acts as a fiduciary, which means it is required to act in your best interests, and it works with several insurance companies (all of which have at least an A rating) so that you can receive an apples-to-apples comparison of the best options.

With each contribution you make, Blueprint receives a commission of 1% to 4% from the insurer, which is reflected in the quote you receive. While the consumer isn’t directly charged this commission (that is, it’s not on top of what you’re already paying), it is a cost that you should consider carefully before signing up with this or any annuity—since all annuities will have similar commission/fee structures.

Blueprint has an attractive, interactive website and I highly suggest you explore their tools and calculators.

Personal Pension Homepage

Who Would Benefit From the Personal Pension?

Guaranteed income in retirement is a tempting option for many people, and the ability to purchase such a product over time means that this is a much more accessible option than traditional annuities.

That being said, Blueprint is very clear in stating that their product should not take the place of traditional retirement investing in 401(k) or IRA accounts. If you have no or minimal retirement savings, you should beef those up before you start eyeing the Personal Pension.

This is in part because once you have made contributions to your Personal Pension, you cannot access that money early. (You can change your retirement date to five years earlier or later than the original date you chose.)

However, workers who already contribute to their retirement accounts and who worry about outliving their money in retirement can find a lot to like about the Personal Pension. In addition to the guaranteed income stream, owning such a product acts as a hedge against market corrections, and its low cost makes it accessible to those who may not be able to otherwise purchase an annuity.

Also, you can lower or pause your monthly contributions if you hit a financial speed bump, or increase them if you would like your monthly retirement income to be higher, making this a very flexible plan.

Get started: You can get going with your own personal pension estimate. Click the image below to get started with the calculation:

Personal Pension Estimate

Caveats to Consider

While the Personal Pension can potentially be a useful part of a savvy investor’s portfolio, it’s a good idea to understand what might not work for you.

To start, it’s important to think through the tax consequences of any investment, including this one. Your taxes on your Personal Pension will depend entirely on how you fund it. If you are making deposits with your after-tax income, then you will owe taxes on any gains.

If you fund your Personal Pension via a traditional IRA, your payments will be taxed (just like withdrawals from the traditional IRA eventually will). If you fund it through your Roth IRA, you won’t pay any taxes on the income.

As with most investing choices, I think it makes sense to take advantage of all tax-preferred options until they’re exhausted, at which point you can turn to after-tax income.

Another consideration is what will happen to your account if you were to pass away before reaching retirement age. In that case, there is what’s known as the Refund at Death feature (which sounds like the name of personal finance-themed thriller, possibly starring Steven Seagal). With this feature, the contributions you made will be given to your beneficiaries. Note, however, that it is only your contributions that will be passed on to beneficiaries. Unlike other types of investments, any gains made with your money will be kept by the insurer (which is true of nearly any annuity).

Finally, the fact that your money is tied up for the long-haul is certainly a concern—and one of the reasons why it’s always a big decision to purchase an annuity. The fact that you are tying up your money a little at a time and you can pause or change your monthly contribution does make the Personal Pension a little easier to choose than a traditional annuity.

PT's take on the Personal Pension

Here's PT with his take:

“I've never discussed annuities on this site before. It's one of those “cross-that-bridge…” topics for me. My thoughts historically have been that I would probably consider a fixed annuity from someone like Vanguard once I hit my 60s. Purchase it with a lump sum. Maybe 10-20% of my overall portfolio? Blueprint offers this and serves as an aggregator of offers. So I would definitely use them to shop around.

Where Blueprint is definitely different is they've created an annuity you can buy into overtime (the “personal pension”). My quick explainer…a younger person – as young as 25 – could use (and are using, according to Lauren Minches from Blueprint) funds they would have put in bonds and instead, purchase this “pension”.

I know some folks haven't participated in the market since 2008 and they aren't going to because of their risk tolerance. Maybe this is a way for them to get something better than cash going? It's certainly better than sticking with cash or some type of convoluted insurance product.

I ran my own numbers through their calculator and discovered that if I wanted $1,000 in monthly income starting at age 70 until I die, I would need to put in an initial $5,000, plus $100 each month (increasing by 9% annually). By age 70 I would have contributed ~$140,000 and Blueprint Income would have made ~$5,000 in fees – if they made 4% commission. Not bad.”

Thanks, PT. Now back to the review. Here's the plan summary you'll see once you complete the initial estimate to determine your own personal pension number:

Personal Pension Plan Summary

The Bottom Line

Blueprint Income’s Personal Pension is not necessarily for everyone. You may not desire additional diversification apart from stocks, bonds, and cash.

But anyone who is worried about outliving their savings, and who is willing to trade a small fee in exchange for some guaranteed income, may find the Personal Pension to be a good fit. As stated it should not entirely replace traditional retirement equity investing, but it can be a great supplement to your retirement investments.

Buying into this product may help you stay calm during market downturns—and help you look forward to retirement with anticipation rather than dread.

Next step: To get an estimate for what a Personal Pension could look like for you, click here to get started.

Blueprint Income: Personal Pension for Retirement Pension plans for individuals. A guaranteed paycheck to make sure you don't run out of money in retirement. Blueprint Income: Personal Pension for Retirement

Want My Free 31-Step Money Guide*?

Subscribe for free. Get my guide *31 Days to Improve Your Financial Life, welcome series, and regular Five Things digest. Join 30,000+ other followers.


Powered by ConvertKit
Last Edited: September 1, 2018 @ 3:36 pm
About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.

Comments

    Speak Your Mind

    *

  1. I like it. This is something new, different and gets you to think outside the box a bit.

    Thank you for introducing!