Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
Select Page

Jackson National Life Insurance Company Review

FREE Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by insurance experts.

Jackson National Life Insurance Company
Premiums
Claims
Feedback
Financial Strength

N/A

Compare Insurance Quotes

Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
Named for both President Jackson and the town in which the company was founded, Jackson National Life Insurance Company has grown from a term life insurance provider to a major player in retirement services, specifically annuities.

Jackson has a pretty strong presence and is well known among financial representatives, even if they aren’t one of those instantly recognized brands with the average person. They don’t advertise heavily and rely a lot more on reputation and popularity with financial advisors – which we’ll talk about more later in this review – to keep new business rolling in.

Jackson National Life Summary

Jackson National Life Insurance Company was founded in 1961 in Jackson, Michigan, initially offering term life insurance as an affordable alternative to the popular whole life policies of the time. They started out selling through their own agents, but by 1966 they decided to break with the traditional model of captive agent sales and go to independent agents instead, an unusual move at the time that made them something of a pioneer in the selling of insurance policies.

That approach worked, and they reached the $1 billion in assets mark by 1984. Two years later British insurance company Prudential plc – which is not related to the American company, and dates back to 1884 in London – purchased Jackson National Life Insurance. They remain a subsidiary of that company to this day, although they continue to operate as a separate organization.

The 1990s took Jackson in a new direction as they began selling annuities. The company launched their first variable annuity in 1995 and followed it with their first offering of fixed annuities the next year. They followed this with a series of acquisitions that expanded their assets as they continued to move into retirement and investment products. Annuities would eventually become the entire focus of the company.

Today the company’s headquarters is located in Lansing, Michigan with branch offices across the country in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Jackson National Life no longer sells life insurance policies, however do retain the company name. The company now offers a variety of annuities.

Thanks to the acquisition of multiple subsidiary companies, including life insurance companies, they appear to still have a large number of life policies in force, but there’s no such policy offering currently.

Two branches of the company handle distribution, one for individual customers and another for institutional investments. They also have several subsidiaries including a broker dealer network, National Planning Holdings, Inc., and asset management companies.

Jackson products continue to be sold through independent agents across the country. Like many other similar companies, Jackson has a subsidiary company created to write products in New York State, Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York.

Jackson runs their Center for Financial Insight that provides relevant information about investing and financial planning. The goal of this aspect of the website is to provide financial material that is engaging and useful to consumers and professionals alike. There is a focus particularly on retirement planning, however it is also geared towards educating the modern investor. Although Jackson and their subsidiaries mainly run the Center, they get contributions from others in the industry.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Annuity Products

Although they did start as a life insurance company, Jackson’s primary products today are annuities. While they can share some similarities with certain forms of life insurance, they are definitely in a class of their own.

Annuities are generally seen as an investment option designed to provide income from the invested funds, particularly used as supplemental retirement income.

While some life insurance policies also offer investment opportunities, the main goal of life insurance is the death benefit to provide for loved ones, while annuities’ main benefits are for those still living, even if there is a death payout.

So while Jackson is still in some ways a life insurance company, they don’t write term, whole, or universal, which are the policies most people think of as life insurance. Instead they offer three different types of annuities for customers to secure income into retirement.

Variable Annuities

Jackson offers three types of variable annuity, each with different investment options, benefits, and requirements. Variable annuities offer a range of choices for the invested funds, and Jackson offers between 90-100 different choices.

Jackson’s three variable annuity products are:

Elite Access – A 1% charge and a minimum $5000 non-qualified or $2000 qualified initial investment make this something of an entry-level annuity for those looking to make a smaller initial investment. This annuity has a five-year withdrawal charge schedule and has limited options for living and death benefits. This annuity offers diversified investment choices to build on the traditional investments.

Elite Access Advisory – With a higher initial investment of $25,000 (qualified or non-qualified), this option has a three-year withdrawal charge schedule. There is a minimum additional premium of $500 and a monthly contract charge of $10/month.

Perspective II – This annuity has a 1.4% charge and the minimum initial investment is $10,000 non-qualified and $5000 qualified. It includes 10 year living benefits that are guaranteed as well as death benefit options. There is a 7-year withdrawal charge schedule, and other withdrawal options are available.

Perspective Advisory – This option is a variable and fixed annuity. Perspective Advisory has a minimum investment amount of $25,000 (non-qualified or qualified) and there is a 3 year withdrawal charge. The mortality and expense risk charge is 0.25%.

Fixed Index Annuities

Jackson offers four different fixed index annuity choices, all of which have a minimum initial investment of $10,000 non-qualified and $5000 qualified.

Jackson AscenderPlus Select – The only annuity that offers LifePay, an optional rider for lifetime income. This option requires a higher minimum initial investment of $25,000. 5, 7, or 10-year contract terms are available as well as three different options for indexes.

Select Annual Reset – This annuity has an Annual reset point-to-point crediting method with 5 or 7-year contract terms. The minimum initial premium is $10,000 non-qualified or $5,000 qualified. It has a guaranteed minimum accumulation value of 1.25% of 100% of premium, and two index choices – S&P Index and Multi-Strategy Index.

Elite Choice – An initial investment of $10,000 (non- qualified) or $5,000 (qualified) is required for this choice. This option offers 6, 8, or 10-year terms, several crediting method options, and two different index choices – S&P 500 Index and Multi-Strategy Index. An Elite Choice annuity provides tax-deferred earnings, flexible income options and guarantees, including a guaranteed death benefit.

Elite Choice Rewards – Similar to the Elite Choice, but offers only 8 and 10-year terms. It also has an additional interest of 2.5% for premium up to $100,000 and 5% for premiums above that amount.

Fixed Annuities

Jackson’s fixed annuities offer several options to provide retirement income as well as a death benefit. These annuities have a guaranteed payout and don’t face the potential fluctuations in value that a variable annuity would, as the market does not impact them.

Jackson offers five fixed annuity options, each of which has a few different features and benefits. All of the fixed annuities have an initial investment minimum of $5000 non-qualified and $2000 qualified, other than Immediate Annuity which requires an initial investment of $5,000. These initial investments aren’t too high and therefore makes them pretty easy to get into with a smaller investment amount.

  • Action Family
  • BonusMAX Family
  • MAX Family
  • SuperMAX Family
  • Immediate Annuity

Within these are different options that can be chosen to fit the income needs of the person investing. Withdrawal charges and interest rates vary across these as well.

Annuities in New York

Through their New York State subsidiary, Jackson sells a series of annuity products that are designed specifically for that state’s laws. Some of the same annuities are available for New York as in the rest of the country, although they are New York-specific.

  • Perspective II Fixed and Variable Annuities
  • Perspective L Series Fixed and Variable Annuities
  • Elite Access Fixed and Variable Annuities
  • NY Action Family of Single Premium Deferred Annuities
  • Jackson of NY Single Premium Immediate Annuities

Annuities are one of the most common products marketed to people who are approaching retirement. They can seem like a great idea on the surface – put in a relatively small initial investment and earn income. It’s important to be aware, however, of the fees and charges that are attached to these annuities. They can be very high and greatly impact how much value the investor is really getting out of the annuity.

The added bonus of a death benefit on some annuities can also be an attractive feature, particularly for those who don’t have life insurance and are finding that they’ve reached an age where taking out a life insurance policy has become difficult and expensive. However, it’s important to look at all of the options for funding retirement as well as providing for final expenses before choosing an annuity to do both jobs.

Annuities have a place in some people’s retirement plans, but they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. In general, annuities can be very expensive and often pay high commissions to agents that sell them. Because of this, they are sometimes pushed on people that would benefit from something else.

The important thing to do when considering investing a large portion of your nest egg into something like an annuity is talk to a fee-based financial planner. Someone that does not benefit from selling you something, but rather collects a fee in exchange for advice.

Cost of Investment

There’s no real premium comparison to be done for a company like Jackson, as they don’t offer standard life insurance products.

They do offer annuities with a relatively low minimum initial investment amount, although it’s important to remember that smaller investments earn smaller returns. It’s very important to read the prospectus and all of the information on the interest rates and returns that you can expect from a particular annuity before you invest, as these can vary greatly.

Overall, Jackson’s fees don’t appear to be out of line with other annuities, although as we have already noted, annuities have some high fees in general.

Each individual is different, so it’s hard to determine just what the actual cost of investment would be for you – and this is where that independent financial planner comes in again. Make sure you get a clear picture of what each option will cost you in terms of fees, and be sure to check in with a tax expert to determine implications of each option.

Claims and Contact

Since Jackson doesn’t write traditional life insurance policies, they don’t really have a standard claims department, although some of their subsidiaries that write life insurance do. These companies should be contacted through their individual contact numbers.

Jackson’s customer service for policy owners is 1-800-644-4565.

This line is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST, which is a little longer than the average business hours for a life insurance company.

This phone number can be used for any customer service or policy/product questions, and is likely the number that would be used in the event of a death benefit claim against an annuity that offers that benefit as well, although the site doesn’t state that specifically.

Jackson doesn’t have an online claims form, which makes sense given the products that they sell, but they do have an email contact form that can be used for customer service issues.

Claims forms for various needs can be found among the other downloadable forms on the company’s website, easily accessible. Death benefit claim forms are found here, along with other annuity claims.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Consumer Feedback and Ratings

Jackson National Life Insurance Company is not Better Business Bureau accredited and has a C+ rating. The last time we reviewed this company it had an A+ rating. According to the BBB website there were two complaints that were not handled well by Jackson National therefore contributing to the rating drop. There has been 2 complaints close in the last 3 years.

Jackson’s complaint volume with the BBB was never high. The BBB takes failure to respond to a complaint pretty seriously,  and it can drop a company’s rating dramatically. Although Jackson did respond to their complaint BBB claims that they failed to make a good effort to resolve the dispute. For the second complaint the customer did not accept the response, however the BBB has not heard back from the customer. For a company the size of Jackson, the amount of complaints (showing 2 closed) in the last three years is a really low number.

According to a Cogent Reports survey of financial advisors in 2014, Jackson National came out ahead of the pack in terms of the company’s proprietary metric, Asset Investment Momentum, or AIM. That means it’s the preferred brand of the financial advisors surveyed, rising above competitors with more brand recognition among consumers such as Prudential and Nationwide.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best products for you, but it does mean that they are performing well, and professionals are choosing them above other companies as the go-to for annuities. Since financial advisors do well when they have happy clients, it does carry some weight that they choose Jackson National above others, at least based on this survey.

Overall, the company appears to have a good reputation both with customers and with professionals. They have few complaints and have made moves in recent years to resolve previous issues, which gives the impression they do care about how they are perceived and about helping their customers.

Bottom Line

Annuities aren’t for everyone, but depending on your financial situation and your needs, they may be the right choice for certain investors. If annuities are something you want to add to your investment portfolio, then Jackson National is a company worth looking at. Annuities are all they do, and they are recognized in the industry and among financial advisors for doing it well.

The company is strong financially and they have plenty of annuity options to choose from, along with minimum investments that are accessible to any level of investor. There is nothing of major concern in the reviews.

Before you start shopping for annuities, however, take the time to find a trusted financial advisor who will go over all of your finances and goals and help you to decide which investments are the right ones to suit your needs. Make sure your advisor will also go over the annuity options you’re considering so you’ve got a clear picture of what to expect in terms of returns, interest, and of course those fees that can make annuities so costly.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

Compare Insurance Quotes

Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Review Information

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed
Jackson National Life Insurance
Author Rating
31star1star1stargraygray

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

31 Comments

  1. A dishonest and immoral company.

    They will lie to you and deceive you…anything to sell a policy…and then steal from you every step of the way.

    Never do business with Jackson national. It’s fraudulent at best…

    There’s a reason so many class-action suits are won against them.

    Don’t trust Jackson National. They represent the worst of our world.

    Reply
  2. Worst interdepartmental communication of any company I’ve had to deal with.

    I filled out a claim form for the death of my mother.

    While it was reviewed and accepted rather expediently, it took them weeks to mail out the check.

    When I would call on the status, nobody ever seemed to know when the benefit would be paid out.

    When the check was finally processed, I would get conflicting information as to when it was mailed.

    They said it was mailed two weeks ago, and I’ve yet to receive it.

    If anyone from that ridiculously-run company reads this:

    I am looking to buy my own life policy right now, and you would’ve had my business (for the sake of convenience) had your customer service not been so awful.

    Get it together and train your employees better.

    Reply
  3. My mother passed on the 22nd of April, 2019 and my sister contacted the company to inform them of this. I was told that she and I were the two beneficiaries of the policy and that we both needed to sign the claims form and send it back to the company.

    We signed the forms on the 30th of April, 2019. Then we were told that it was going to take 7 – 10 business days before we would receive the check.

    I called on the 7th day and was told that they needed the death certificate, so I faxed over the death certificate and was told that it was going to take another 7 – 10 business days.

    Well, we waited for the additional 7 – 10 business days and then I called and was told that I was not a beneficiary of the policy.

    I told the lady that she was a lie because I had the paperwork in my hand that states that my sister and I were the two beneficiaries of the policy.

    Then she said, that it was not to say that I was not a beneficiary, but their company only pays the 1st beneficiary and it would be left up to that person to split the money.

    I told her that it was a crop of BS, because I have never heard of that and it should not matter if there were 10 people listed as the beneficiary, they were to split the money and pay each one of them.

    When my sister called after I spoke with them, they told her that they sent me a withdrawal form that I needed to sign in order for them to send her the check.

    I was not going to sign anything, but my sister asked me to please go ahead and sign it so that we could get the money and take care of things left over from my mom’s funeral.

    so, I called Jackson Insurance back and asked them to fax over the form. I got the fax, signed it and faxed it right back over to them at 10:59 am that morning of the 24th of May, 2019.

    I called the office at 2:15 pm that same day to see if they had received the fax and I was told that they did not have the fax. I asked, “How do you not have a fax, it is one of the quickest forms of communication, please help me to understand that.”

    I told the lady that I faxed that form over at 10:59 am and it is now 2:15 pm, so you can’t tell me that you have not received the fax, then she stated,

    “It’s not to say that we don’t have the fax, it just has not been processed.” What in the heck do you have to process with fax? Upload it in the computer and move on.

    Then she states that we have to process it, and I told her that they are the out processing company I have ever dealt with. Everything is a process and it takes 7 – 10 business days.

    Well, we waited for that and my sister called on the 5th of June, 2019, because this is the date in which she was told that they would send her the check because it now shows that the withdrawal documents were in their system.

    Now, today, they tell her that they sent her a letter on the 3rd of June, 2019, because there was something in which she forgot to sign.

    No she didn’t forget to sign anything, they are playing around and stalling to not pay what has been paid into this account and to top that off, they took more money out of my brother-in-law’s account for the policy on yesterday.

    This company is a scam and they are full of it. How can a company get away with treating people like this at a venerable time in their life.

    This is straight disrespectful of the company and they have no couth about themselves at all.

    Can someone please suggest an excellent lawyer in which we can connect with to get this issue resolved?

    We are at our wits end with this fake behind company that is taking advantage of people at such a venerable state in their lives.

    Reply
  4. I was sent a letter stating that my grandmother had me insured along with a policy number.

    So does that mean I have life insurance or can I cash it out? What does all this mean?

    They stated it’s over a decade she’s been paying this. And she has passed away

    Reply
  5. My husband purchased whole life 100,000 on him and 50,000 on me, cost 62.50 a month over 26 yrs. Cash surrender value 21,000 something. My husband said we don’t lose that if he passes that I get that and 100,000. My question, obviously would be smart get term at 30 yrs the same amount for same 62.50 and cancel with Jackson and take 210000 invest to make higher interest rate? If we take 21 do we have to pay taxes? Does Jackson take some of the money?

    Reply
    • This company is horrible. I have Perspective II annuity.

      They sometimes have taken as much as seven days to get my monthly check to me.

      They are paying me 5% and they are charging fees of 4% and have changed my monthly payment three times without my consent. The bump up on pay is a joke

      Reply
  6. omg, I have the same policy. I am not happy. I put a lot of it into the stock side which kept going down down down before this new president. I put it into the fixed interest side which is only 1%. But the problem is that the [redacted] fees cost more than 1%, so that is a loss. Then I kept 30k in the stock side which should be soaring right now. It is not. Every time I look, it looks like I’ve made $5.00. This [redacted] policy is a RIP-OFF. DO NOT DO IT. My advisor keeps saying don’t worry, when u retire you will get 6% interest every month. BUT THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS THAT I WILL NOT GET ALL OF THE MONEY THAT I PUT INTO IT BEFORE I DIE, WHICH MEANS I HAVE TO RELY ON THE STOCK MARKET SIDE FOR MY KIDS, WHICH AS I HAVE SEEN WILL NOT BE WORTH IT. I WANT OUT OF THIS ASAP BUT ILL LOSE MONEY. ILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE 5 YEARS ARE UP TO GET THE [Redacted] OUT OF IT.
    SCAM.

    Reply
    • To be honest it sounds like you’re the problem, not the annuity. If you were smart you would realize that guarantees simply act as a buffer and you should swing for the fences. If the market tanks you still get the income, but you trying to time the market and be loud is only hurting. You shouldn’t look at your statement.

      Reply
  7. Our policy switched hands two or three times since we purchased it in 1998. When Jackson bought it, our premiums tripled. Every two years the premiums went up to a staggering amount. When my husband got sick, the premiums went up again. We finally had to let the policy go and now he is uninsurable. Don’t do business with these people, they are horrible!

    Reply
    • Have you spoke to a lawyer?

      Reply
  8. My parents both had life insurance with this horrible company. They have requested and re-requested and if you can believe this re-re-requested tons of paperwork and repeating the same requests for the same thing I already sent them. I told them they need to get their act together because they either are using stall tactics or are “losing” what I send to them. Just like another reviewer claimed, they are deliberately stalling and finding every reason to not pay out. They should NOT be in this kind of business at all! Families are already suffering enough after losing a loved one and then having to deal with this crooked insurance company on top of that is just WRONG!

    Reply
    • We are going thrrough the same thing right now! Have you spoke to a lawyer?

      Reply
  9. Worst policy and company. My mother was talked into buying universal life ins for both her, my dad and 3 girls. DO NOT purchase this insurance. They kept raising the premiums so it was cost prohibitive. They don’t have an early pay out. My mom died in oct 2013. My father died recently. Their policies were with a different company and then it went through 2 other name changes. They are making all kinds of paperwork demands to process the claim so we can get the funeral expenses paid. They sent the initial paperwork to my deceased mom and instead of being sympathetic and helpful they have horrible customer service.

    Reply
  10. My mom passed 3/24/2017. Today is 4/28/2017 and we are still fighting with them. The are telling my sister and I one thing and the funeral home something different. They said they mailed paperwork on 3/23/2017. Thats funny mom passed on3/24/2017 1st lie. Next paperwork aganin was mailed on 4/12/2017…….still waiting. DONT DO ANY BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY

    Reply
    • Hi,
      We are 9 months in, sending them all they request over & over again. I don’t understand how a company can do this. Avoid paying & just giving loved ones the run around….
      Despicable…

      Reply
  11. I also thought Jackson Annuity guaranteed an annual increase in principle of 5% per year. Now I understand they guarantee an increase in the monthly annuity amount – not the principle. So you can lose the entire principle (you’d still have the monthly annuity for life if you’re paying the fee). Jackson has performed very poorly the last two years — not even a 3% return for those two years combined. So if you put in $200,000 and you’ve only increased to $206,000, you’ve likely lost money. Most of my other retirement investments are earning 7%. So on $200,00 I might have earned $14,000 if the investment had been elsewhere. Compound this loss of income over 5 to 10 years and the guarantee on a monthly annuity doesn’t seem worth it.

    Reply
  12. My mom passed. This company is not paying out $100k life insurance. Giving my dad the runaround. I copy EVERYTHING! They said he didn’t sign the signature box. He clearly did.

    What steps should I take next. I’m thinking of writing the insurance commissioner

    Reply
    • Have you spoke to a lawyer?

      Reply
  13. I have been told by an adviser that I can buy the Perspective II from Jackson National, but not use it as a true annuity. If I purchase the 6% rider, then I am assured at least a 6% increase on the year to year investment value if the market under performs. If the market does better than 6%, then my portfolio will increase by that amount. Like your initial illustration, it is the better of the two. I have told that I am under no obligation to convert this investment into a true annuity.

    So what am I missing here? It seems as though this vehicle has all the upside and no downside. The fees are more than others, but if the worse you can ever do in a down market is 6% more, why is not everyone doing this

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I haven’t seen the minor details of your contract, but you may want to consult a FEE-BASED financial planner in your area to look over this.

      Again, I don’t know the specifics of what you are looking at, but a guaranteed 6% return with no downside sounds very fishy to me.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
      • I won’t go into the details, but the guarantee 6% is a phantom number. The guaranteed growth in not on the real money column of your illustration. That column is your contract value.

        Reply
        • I think we have the same policy (perspective II fixed and variable annuity) from Jackson insurance. we just started receiving a quarterly annuity, after the 4th anniversary of our policy. we found out that the entire check we receive (not just the portion from the 6% interest but also our own money that we invested with them ) is taxed by the feds and the state. I’m sure it was in the FINE print when we took out this policy, but, they conveniently omitted this info. at the time they sold us this *#@#*. after paying 10% fed tax plus 5% state your actually losing money. to make things worse the “guaranteed” 6% on the remainder of your money STOPS when you start taking your annuity. how do you spell “SCAM”.

          Reply
  14. Horrible company to do business with. Run, don’t walk away from this company!

    Reply
  15. I was sent a letter stating I was beneficiary to a life insurance policy of an old friend who recently passed. I was sent a claim form too. I called and was told to send in the form with a copy of the certified death certificate. I spend hours contacting the family and ordering and overnighting the death certificate to me. I called them and three occasions to ask questions. They could not answer until they had my documents in house. I faxed all of this yesterday. I called today and got a third person to say they received everything from me but their records were incorrect and I am not the current beneficiary, they made mistake! Now I have no proof that I was changed. I am out $39.50 in postage. I cannot hire a lawyer. They gave me a PO box and fax # to contact customer relations. In this day and age when everything is computerized it is hard to believe a company can not have such important updated information. There must be something someone can do about this. This is public robbery.

    Reply
  16. Hi Eric,
    I have a similar issue with our Elite Access account purchase as the earlier respondent. My husband and I each purchased Roth IRAs from a Financial Advisor our Accountant recommended. This Advisor suggested the Jackson Elite Access Annuities. I was very much against Annuities but he spent a great deal of time explaining how it would benefit us, and showing us how well these funds were performing. We invested in 2014, and the funds have been loosing money every since. We were put in over 30 “sub funds” apiece, some with fees over 2%. I reviewed the fund offerings and selected 5-6 funds for each of us, with fees below 1%. The other concern I have is that ALL of the Jackson Life funds are DOWN. None of them have shown a positive return in the two years I have been invested with them. I have other investments, some mutual funds, that are doing much better. How can ALL of their funds be down? All the time? I actually found your website while doing research to see if Jackson is a ponzi scheme. At least I see they have a good reputation, but I will be pulling my money out when the surrender fees drop in year 4. Thank you so much for the information your website provides.

    Reply
  17. Hello Mr. Stauffer,

    We have an IRA in an annuity platform with Jackson National Life called Elite Access. We were given a list of 125 mutual funds that we could invest in. As we researched the funds and compared to MorningStar, we are noticing that the annual returns (percentages) are significantly lower on the Jackson website and higher on the Morningstar website. In other words, it appears Jackson is taking more than 1% off the top to manage our funds. On down years, we found a bond fund that was at a loss of 16% and morningstar showed that exact same fund at 9%.

    We have a $3500 penalty go get out if we leave before the 3 year period. We originally figured we couldn’t make that up in 3 years, therefore planned on managing the funds the best we could until we can leave. However, based on these differentials in percentages, we are wondering if our best bet is to pull now, take the loss, and transfer to another IRA with Fidelity. We are 40 years old so we want to get our money invested the right way. We learned the hard way that doing the research at the beginning is so important.

    We would appreciate any help you can give with getting a straight answer on this dilemma.

    Thanks,
    Julia

    Reply
    • Hello Julia,

      Let me preface this response by saying I am not a certified financial planner, so this comment is should be taken as my opinion. In addition, I do not know all your personal details, so I am speaking in general.

      Personally, I prefer to take a proactive approach in managing my own funds, and stay very far away from managed mutual funds and full-service brokerages. In my opinion, one of the biggest drains on the middle class long term wealth building ability is the huge fees tacked on by big banks and brokerage firms. Many people are not even aware of the astronomical fees they pay on their 401ks and IRAs. It can up to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost over an investing lifetime.

      From your comment, it sounds to me like to know what you are looking at. Since I do not know what kind of dollars you are talking about moving, I cannot be certain if you will “make up” the difference over the course of three years.

      Personally, I would get to a low cost fund provider as soon as possible. I prefer Vanguard, Schwab and Fidelity. I also like index fund investing for the average saver. Fact is, most funds do not beat the market long term, despite what the sales agents say.

      Annuities can be a different beast, but as you have already found out, a lot of the high cost brokerage and life insurance companies are still that, high cost. There are low cost options out there, and the brokerages I listed above are good starting points.

      No one can predict the market, but what you can control is how much you pay someone else to manage your funds. Since most can’t beat the market anyways, the key is to lower your cost as much as possible and try to have a balanced portfolio that reflects the market (index type funds).

      Sincerely,

      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
    • I think I know what you are missing. Your annuity should have a guaranteed income benefit rider. It should have an accumulation benefit of 6% annually stepped, not compounded. If your funds gain more than 6% in a anniversary year you should get the greater accumulation of the two. Example: If your funds never made you a dime over 30 years your $100,000 would be worth $208,000 and you could turn on a 5% income benefit for the rest of your life. That is $10,400 for life and if you were to die your beneficiary will receive the amount of the separate account(investments) minus any withdrawals. You should never buy an annuity with short term funds and understand that any withdrawals before age 59 1/2 is federally penalized at 10% rate and subject to tax at your income rate. I am not a financial advisor but I did stay at a holiday inn last night. Good Luck

      Reply
  18. My mom is 82 yrs old. She was referred to an adviser that is recommending she put her $$ in a Jackson National Annuity. Elite Choice Rewards. It was explained that It will not be part of probate when she dies. Saving on PA inheritance tax & probate cost. And this $$ doesn’t need to be disclosed to a nursing home if she needs long term permanent care in future. i.e. it doesn’t become part of her self pay contribution to nursing home care. Is this correct? What I’m worried about is access to the $$. She can only withdraw 10%/yr and 20%/yr if in nursing home I was told. She doesn’t need the $$ now, but who knows later. he was suggesting 10 yr term with biannual interest calculations.

    I have found it very difficult to get a straight answer from anyone. Could you be the person to give me an honest answer

    Please advise. Thanks.
    Kyle

    Reply
    • Hi Kyle,

      First, I would like to commend you on not taking a sales agent’s word without doing some of your own due diligence. While the vast majority of insurance and financial sales representatives are honest, there still are ones that will say whatever is necessary in order to get a sale.

      Second, this is a complicated scenario that can be impacted by a few different variables. Unfortunately, I am not a tax expert and certainly cannot answer with absolute authority what the ruling would be in your particular state. What I would recommend is finding an estate planner (attorney, accountant, maybe both) with local knowledge of your state laws as well as a grasp on the federal laws. They should be able to give you a definitive answer for your mother’s specific situation.

      Reply
      • HI Eric, I have both Perspective II and Elite Access Fixed and Variable annuities.

        I am not too pleased after reading all these comments on both.

        The reason I went into both of these is because my financial advisor was so good at telling all the upside of these annuities and very little of the downside!!

        My advisor, kept pointing out the historical returns chart which looked really good on the chart, that is what sold me, even in the years around 2008 and 2009 did good which was when there was a stock market crash!!!

        I have has these annuities going on three years now.

        I was thinking of getting out of the Elite which has a five-year surrender charge.

        My Elite Access is down to around $43,500 from the $50,000 I put into it.

        In the first year and half I was allowed to take money out without annuitizing.

        I took out $2000 last year and $1000 this year. I stop taking out any money this year, but still the Elite is down to $43,500.

        My financial advisor, in the beginning, said that I could take out this money if I wanted to otherwise I probably would not have.

        Before this, I had a mutual fund and stocks which my financial advisor converted into these two investments.

        I wish I would have kept them in the original investments, too late now.

        Signed Rose S. By the way, I put the Elite Access in a Fixed position, otherwise, my financial advisor did nothing!

        I did not want to lose any more money!!!

        Reply

Leave a Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *