Rolling Stones concert goers to get schooled on lifetime income

Personal finance

Mick Jagger performs during the Rock in Rio Lisbon 2014 music festival, in Lisbon, Portugal on May 29, 2014. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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If you’re attending a Rolling Stones concert this summer, you might notice something different. And no, it’s not Mick Jagger’s new moves.

The tour has what some might consider to be an unlikely sole sponsor: the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a nonprofit organization formed by financial services firms to raise awareness around the need to protect income in retirement.

For many, that means annuities.

Many Americans do not have enough saved for retirement.

About 40.6% of all U.S. households where the head of household is 35 to 64 years old could run out of money in retirement, according research from the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

Those households have an aggregate retirement deficit of about $3.83 trillion, even when current Social Security benefits are included.

Annuities, financial products that let individuals pay a lump sum in return for a lifetime stream of income, are seen as one way to help solve that problem.

That message is what the Alliance for Lifetime Income plans to bring to the concerts, which were rescheduled following its front man’s heart surgery in April.

Going on tour

The organization will be traveling to the events, where it will have a bus to engage concertgoers. The alliance plans to draw individuals by playing music and giving away tickets.

Once they’re there, individuals will also be able to use the alliance’s new tool to get their Retirement Income Security Evaluation score. RISE aims to measure how well an individual will be covered financially in retirement on a zero to 850 scale.

The point of the message is not to push specific products, according to the organization. Instead, it is aimed at getting individuals to ask themselves and their financial advisors: Is my money going to last my lifetime?

“If we can get them to ask that question … it’s mission accomplished for us,” said Jean Statler, the group’s executive director.

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The organization is agnostic about recommending advisors to consumers. But there are resources, such as the Financial Planning Association’s website, that it does recommend to individuals who want to find one.

The Rolling Stones audience, which typically ranges in age from 45 to 75, is an ideal fit for this message, Statler said. The sold-out tour boasts a total of roughly 1.5 million attendees. The band’s social media reach is about 24 million, she said.

Annuity sales climbed to $233.7 billion in 2018, a 15% increase from 2017, according to LIMRA, a provider of research and consulting services for insurance and financial services.

That’s a comeback from 2017, when annuity sales fell by 8.4% from 2016. Part of that slide can be attributed to “downward pressure” from a conflict of interest rule from the Department of Labor, according to research from Cerulli Associates, a financial services research firm.

Some financial advisors are wary of selling these products because of their complexity and the high risks that they may not be in clients’ best interests. Individuals may not be aware that these strategies exist to help them stretch out the money they have saved.

“When they are used, they are used too much. When they’re not used, they’re not used at all,” said Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement research at Carson Group. “The leads to kind of a bad outcome.”

The alliance’s push comes at a time when most insurers — 94% — said that negative press around variable annuities is a “major hurdle” in selling them, according to a recent report from the Insured Retirement Institute.

Much of the industry has seized on the organization’s campaigns to promote annuity sales. IRI’s report found that 55% said they had promoted the campaign to wholesalers, while 45% had promoted it to financial advisors.

Facing unknowns

The Rolling Stones are an example of the unexpected retirement dilemma many boomers face today.

In the movie “Almost Famous,” band manager Dennis Hope, played by Jimmy Fallon, cautions members of the fictitious band Stillwater, “If you think Mick Jagger will still be out there trying to be a rock star at age 50, you are sadly, sadly mistaken.”

“I didn’t invent the rainy day, man. I just own the best umbrella,” he told the band, emphasizing that they needed to make money while they were still young.

The movie was set in 1973.

For Jagger, who is 75, his career and health, based on a tweet he recently shared of himself dancing, are still going strong.

For baby boomers who find themselves planning for unexpectedly longer lives or unpredictable careers, the alliance is promoting annuities as a potential umbrella.

It’s up to individuals and their advisors to decide if they’re really the best fit for them.

Rolling Stones tour dates

June 21: Soldier Field, Chicago

June 25: Soldier Field, Chicago

June 29: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds, Ontario, Canada

July 3: FedExField, Washington, D.C.

July 7: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.

July 14: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

July 19: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.

July 23: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

July 27: NRG Stadium, Houston

Aug. 1: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Aug. 5: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Aug. 10: Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver

Aug. 14: CenturyLink Field, Seattle

Aug. 18: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Aug. 22: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Aug. 26: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Aug. 31: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

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