In the Reuter’s article, “Stern Advice: The top 10 money stories of 2011,” Linda Stern reminds us what happened in 2011 that will really impact our personal finances. There were record sales of annuities, including record high variable annuity sales and near record fixed annuity sales. Worried investors flocked to annuities to protect their money from the great losses that they saw in recent history. Although an annuity rates comparison shows that low interest rates have had an impact on annuity rates, the guarantees offered still drew record numbers of retirees to annuities. This means that new and improved products are coming into the market and the competition will make them less expensive for investors. The other items rounding out the top ten may not have to specifically do with annuities, but they will impact annuities in their own ways.
Markets showed that volatility is here to stay with huge up and down swings becoming the norm. Since the fees on debit cards were limited by the government, banks have raised other fees and eliminated rewards programs, making it better to earn rewards on a credit card that you are sure to pay off each month. The Consumer Financial Protection Board was started to make sure that disclosures are given and complete for all financial transactions. There was some horrible weather in 2011, causing a financial nightmare for those effected as well as the government paying for clean-up. The problems stemming from European debt crises are far-reaching and will continue into 2012. Since munibonds outyielded treasuries, we have learned that there is no “safe” place to earn money. Occupy Wall Street showed the power that consumers have against banks and other entities they choose to boycott. Banks and other financial companies started new and very different marketing campaigns. And finally, Stern says that Washington failed at accomplishing much and will likely be at a stalemate until after the 2012 election.
Written by Rachel Summit
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