Retirement-planning products, services need to be more helpful

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BOSTON (MarketWatch) — The demographics are changing. And so too are the ways in which financial products and services, such as variable annuities and investment advice, are being developed and marketed to seniors and baby boomers.
Financial firms are churning out tons of new services and products with all sorts of bells and whistles aimed at helping folks save for retirement or generate income during retirement.
In recent weeks, for instance, the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company unveiled a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit for its fixed and variable annuities. John Hancock introduced a new survivorship universal life insurance policy that insures a spouse to age 121. Nationwide said it’s adding variable life and annuity policies with new asset-allocation models designed to for investors who plan to enjoy long, active retirements. And AXA Equitable has launched an advertising campaign in which an 800-pound gorilla is “educating” boomers who have failed to plan for retirement about the possibility of using annuities to generate lifetime retirement-income streams.
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