Americans Increase Their Investments In Annuities In Light Of Shifting Public Perceptions About Social Security

With the Future of Social Security a Hot Political Issue, Predicts Increased Interest in Tax-Deferred Retirement Investments

Marina Del Rey, California, UNITED STATES

MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Sept. 28, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) --Al Gore and George Bush don't agree on much, but both Presidential hopefuls do agree on the need to address the future of Social Security. Why? Because Washington's worst-kept secret is that most Americans are pessimistic about Social Security, considering it a failed system. Indeed, a recent poll suggests nearly two-thirds of Americans don't believe the Social Security system is meant to provide most of their retirement income.

Recognizing the public's mood, the Social Security Administration will be mailing to 150 million Americans a statement estimating how much they can expect to receive during retirement. More than a few people are in for a shock when they slit open those envelopes and see just how small their monthly Social Security checks will be. Many will become more serious about retirement planning.

"Baby Boomers aren't known for their ability to save," said Gregory G. Yost, chairman and CEO of "But thankfully there's still plenty of time for them to get their act together. For those getting a late start, products that feature tax-deferred compounding are a great way to go. Tax-deferred retirement vehicles like 401(k)s, IRAs and Annuities allow their money to work harder, letting them catch up on the lost years," he added. Yost is a noted expert on tax-deferred investing and his company has been featured in such media outlets as Bloomberg's Money Talk, Business Week, Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.

Americans are living longer, and with retirement lasting longer, they need to spread their savings over a longer period. Twenty-three percent of Americans believe they'll struggle to make ends meet during their retirement.

"We tell our AnnuityScout customers to start by taking full advantage of their qualified plans, their 401(k)s and IRAs, because they have the added advantage of utilizing pre-tax dollars," Yost said. "But it is hard to save enough when contributions to 401(k)s and IRAs are limited. Annuities impose virtually no limits on contribution, thus offering a chance to save larger amounts tax-deferred." Yost noted that because they allow for larger investments, annuities are often the right choice for lump sum investments, such as a bonus from work or the proceeds from the sale of a home, or an inheritance.

While some might consider investing in annuities complicated, makes comparing and shopping for annuities easy. Rated by Online Investor Magazine (October 2000) as a top personal finance Web site, is the leading no-load annuity marketplace representing more than 50 highly rated insurance companies. Unlike single-carrier, single-product sites, AnnuityScout maintains its independence from any one company, placing its priorities on the needs of clients. The company has a state-of-the-art call center fully staffed with nationally licensed Annuity Specialists. AnnuityScout encourages customers to call its toll-free number at 1-800 TAX-CUTS with any questions.

The Web site is specifically designed to meet the needs of all levels of annuity shoppers. The home page offers visitors four distinct paths from which to choose. Those new to tax-deferred annuities are offered a series of easy-to-use tools to help them decide if an annuity is right for them. Those familiar with annuities may choose to view a side-by-side selection of current fixed and variable annuities. Current annuity owners can compare their investments with current offerings to assess whether or not it is time for a Tax-Free Annuity Exchange. The final path detours "offline" as the "Call Me" button enables Web visitors to schedule their own phone appointment with an Annuity Specialist at the date and time requested by the customer.

About "Annuities Done Right" is an independent annuity service for both consumers and the company's business-to-business alliances. Rated by Online Investor Magazine (October 2000) as a top personal finance Web site, is the leading online marketplace for no-load annuities. Representing more than 50 insurance companies, the comprehensive AnnuityScout "supermarket" is designed to offer products direct to those consumers who want more value from their annuities. AnnuityScout's proprietary technological platform enables the company to efficiently service the needs of its business-to-consumer clients and its business-to-business alliances both on and offline. The state-of-the-art AnnuityScout call center is staffed with nationally licensed Annuity Specialists. is a free service of Independent Advantage Financial and Insurance Services, Inc. (IAF). Founded in 1987, IAF has facilitated the purchase of more than $1 billion in annuities and high-end life insurance direct to the consumer through marketing alliances and other endorsements. is headquartered in Marina Del Rey, and can be reached at (800) TAX-CUTS (829-2887).

Interesting Facts About the Annuities Industry

LIMRA International (an independent service that monitors the Insurance Industry) reports that overall annuity sales (combined variable and fixed annuities) grew from $98.5 billion in 1995 to (an estimated) $155 billion in 1999. This represents an average annual growth rate of 12%. Variable annuity sales have shown even greater growth. According to The VARDS Report (an independent service that monitors the variable annuity sales), the variable annuity market has grown from $51 billion in 1995 to $121 billion in 1999, a compound annual growth rate of 19%. First quarter 2000 sales for variable annuities reached $35 billion (The VARDS Report), a trend that could make 2000 a record year for variable annuity sales and could push the overall market past $200 billion. According to the prestigious @Plan market research organization, there are 15.1 million current annuity owners "on line" (defined as annuity owners who regularly use the Internet and e-mail).