Brad Rhodes: Do you and Babe Ruth have something in common?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2022

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“If you’re worried about running out of money when you retire, then you and the 1920s baseball star may have more in common than you think.”

— Lawrence Castillo


Too many people closing in on retirement or who are already retired spend a lot of time worrying. These retirees and pre-retirees fear what will happen with their savings instead of what they want to do when they stop working.

I find this a bit sad. After all, the entire concept of retirement is built around the idea that there should be a time in your life when you can relax and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work and diligent planning.

Unfortunately, many Americans spend their days glued to their television sets or computers, fretting over every negative government report and news story. Every time stocks dive, they know their dreams become harder to achieve, and they wonder if there are any safe harbors for their wealth. Many of these hard-working Americans, even some who already have been retired for a while, realize they may have too much of their cash exposed to risk.

As I write this, the world is undergoing a shift unlike any I’ve witnessed. Runaway inflation and the real potential of simultaneous deflation, market turmoil, wars, soaring energy prices, tax hikes and other global events have nearly everyone in a stressed-out state of panic. Understandably, many folks are looking for a magic pill that will take away their pain when managing their wealth.

I’m here to tell you that, although there is no magic pill that will fix your financial issues, there are ways to achieve greater peace of mind and create a more predictable and successful retirement outcome. Money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and bonds are safer places to store cash but typically won’t give you the growth needed to beat back inflation.

In my mind, those vehicles, while they can have their uses, are sort of like the modern-day version of stuffing your money into a coffee can and burying it in the backyard or lining the inside of your walls with dollar bills. Your money is a little safer, but it’s doing nothing for you. These days, you certainly need some growth, and you must shield as much of your money as possible from risk.

That being the case, you might want to look at annuities. You can find annuity contracts in the portfolios of everyone from U.S. presidents to Fortune 500 CEOs to sports figures. One of the most well-known tales of how annuities came through in the clutch is the story of New York Yankee legend Babe Ruth. Ruth, nicknamed “The Sultan of Swat,” was the highest-paid player in baseball and arguably the most famous sports figure in the world in the 1920s.

However, when the global Great Depression hit, other players who’d heavily invested in the stock market lost everything. While many of those once-wealthy athletes stood in soup kitchen lines, Ruth lived a life of relative comfort with no worries about running out of money. His secret? Instead of putting all his cash at risk in the market, Babe Ruth had purchased an annuity a few years before the Depression.

At the Depression’s height in 1934, Ruth was getting a guaranteed stream of income equal to around $290,000 in today’s dollars! Ruth was so impressed with his annuity’s performance that he bought a lifetime annuity for his wife so she’d have secure income after he passed away.

Summing it up: Even in challenging times, it’s still possible to enter retirement on a high note, with less stress and a greater chance of achieving your financial goals. If you are looking to protect your principal investment, create income that lasts until you die, and possibly provide a legacy for loved ones, you should consider an annuity.

An annuity creates a guaranteed lifetime income stream while providing reasonable, predictable growth. It’s a potent weapon in the battle to have a retirement that is more prosperous, less stressful, and more enjoyable, no market what the market does.

Brad Rhodes is a member of Syndicated Columnists who lives in Lexington.