Annuities Pilot

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GENERAL USE OF AP

(Also see "How It Works")

 

 


1.) Can I use Annuities Pilot along with an adviser?

Sure. However, many advisers use "goal based" investment strategies--often a cover-up for ineffective non-performance based and non-benchmarked results. Just make sure that your adviser's goals are your goals and not his goals. Goals based advisers often have expensive, built-in conflicts of interest along with chronic, undocumented under performance. Many are more interested in selling you heavy fee or commission based investments that you really don't need or want. Make sure your adviser provides you with optimal investment choices based on coldly objective risk/reward criteria. The best alternative would be to ask your adviser to implement our Ranking System for you. That way you can be sure you'll be getting your "fee's" worth.

2.) Why not just buy a fixed portfolio of funds/subaccounts and hold them indefinitely?

This "buy-and-hold" strategy is simply doesn't work long-term for those wanting to limit market risk while maximizing returns. The concept has been popularized by mutual fund managers who have a built-in financial conflicts of interest. They discourage investors from leaving their funds by slapping on outrageous early redemption fees and back end loads, and yet they constantly trade frequently within their own funds in an attempt to enhance performance!

It's easy to see what happened to even diversified stock funds during the 2000-2003 and 2007-2009 bear markets. Those "buy-and-hold" investors lost--and lost big time. Any simple fund selection algorithm with basic long-term timing would have saved investors from having to suffer those losses. The Annuities Pilot fund selection strategy is never perfect, but applied effectively and professionally it beats "buy-and-hold" cold sober year after year.

3.) When do you release your latest monthly AP Rankings and Advisory?

Annuities Pilot releases its current monthly Rankings and Advisory Service which includes annuity subaccounts and mutual fund rankings tables, market Commentaries and Broad Market Indicator Tables on or before the 15th of each month. There may be a slight delay in a release date around holidays. Every AP subscriber will receive an email to his/her email address(s) of record the night before the newest monthly Advisory is posted to the AP website. TOP

4.) Where do I log-in to see the latest Rankings and Advisory?

Every new AP subscriber is provided a Username and Password for accessing our Current Rankings and Advisories at the time they sign up. The link to the current Ranking and Advisory issue is on the very top nav bar on every page. It is highlighted in yellow and labelled "Current Rankings". TOP

5.) Why can't I see the Current Rankings after I log in?

Always remember to re-load your browser window when opening our Current Rankings and Advisory. If you have successfully logged in and refreshed and still can't see the updated Rankings you may want to try a different browser. We would suggest Google Chrome or Firefox for best results. TOP

6.) Why not send out your Current Rankings and Advisory by email?

Firstly, the controversial protocol of HTML email is not universally accepted as a viable format. It is not rendered in the same way by all browsers. Secondly, prior attempts to format and email our Current Rankings and Advisory and met with spotty results in terms of readability and proper replication across subscriber POP email systems. Emailing only the text version of the Current Advisory and Rankings Service was therefore met by subscriber complaints of poor legibility and readability. Email delivery of the AP Service simply couldn't be done reliably and consistently enough on an ongoing basis. Therefore we were left with the only choice to post the sample issue on a webpage.  Future cloud based versions may be able to circumvent website postings. TOP

7.) How and where can I change my password and/or email address for the monthly alerts?

Current AP subscribers can access our "Password and User Center" to retrieve or change their password. Please read full instructions there. If you want to change your email address, or add another one to our alerts listserv, please send that request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will gladly change or add it for you. TOP

8.) Where can I get subscription service problems resolved or service related questions answered?

Please send your question or service assistance request to our support desk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We will answer all email service requests within 24 hours of receipt. TOP

9.) What do I do if I miss a monthly issue?

Missing one monthly issue of AP will certainly not sink your retirement account. However, it may impact your account's performance to some degree. Just make sure you check to see whether you should do a "Roll-Up" as soon as you download your latest current issue based on the current Rankings. TOP

10.) I just retired. Why do I need Annuities Pilot?

Unless you completely annuitize (which we only rarely recommend), you will still be investing your retirement plan assets in securities, and you will therefore continue to need keep those investments optimized and maximized for a given level of risk.  In such circumstances, near or after retirement, we always recommend you track our Conservative Portfolio t reduce your exposure to market risk.

Generally, the closer you are to the time when you intend to draw down from your retirement plan the less market risk you would want to accept. On the other hand the 90's came with 20%+ yearly returns on many indexes for several years in a row. Annuities Pilot will always limit your exposure to market risk and conserve your capital whether the markets are rising or falling. Historically, the Annuities Pilot Conservative Portfolio carries about the same level of market risk exposure as a passively managed conservative account invested largely in the bond funds. You will be sheltered in a falling stock market from more serious short term losses.

On the other hand, if you are some years pre-retirement and the stock market rise dramatically, our dynamic Annuities Pilot Portfolios will likely keep you on the right side of the market with significant stock fund/annuity subaccounts allocations to help your account take advantage of those return opportunities. In a nutshell, your risk will be limited and your returns improved over any time period, short, intermediate or long term. TOP

11.) When is the best time to begin following Annuities Pilot?

Unfortunately, while there may be a best time to begin, that time would only be knowable in hindsight. Since the general trend of Annuities Pilot Portfolios over time is substantially up with very little downside deflections in down markets, the later you begin following the Annuities Pilot Advisories and Rankings the farther behind you account will likely be in total net return from the our optimum profile. Since the best time would have been yesterday, the second best time to begin is today--regardless of the markets, your age or your time to retirement. TOP

12.) I missed a monthly issue of AP. When should I look to see whether I should make a "Roll-Up"?

The answer to this will always be ASAP. TOP

13.) Why is your site often slow to respond after issuing an alerts email?

We periodically add additional resources to our website to better handle the expected spike in traffic just after an alert is issued. However, sometimes the added resources just aren't sufficient to support the significant increase in site traffic experienced lately after an alert is issued. When this site slowdown happens, it is always a temporary condition and usually clears very quickly. Please keep re-trying to access the site. We are working on a more permanent resource upgrade solution to the site's capability to handle the substantial traffic growth we've experienced lately...especially after alerts are issued. Please bear with us. TOP

(FAQs 14 - 20 reserved)


 

AP RANKINGS, ROLL-UP AND REBALANCING PROCEDURES

 

 

 


21.) How do I easily compare rankings between different insurance companies and VA providers?

If your retirement plan administrator offers you a wide mix of mutual funds and annuity subaccounts (which is often the case) the simplest way to find the rankings for each is to use our handy Combined Ranking Tables for all ranked mutual funds and annuity subaccounts. You can easily search there by the name of the investment and then compare their rankings. All Ranking Tables show the first column sorted by Pilot Rank with the same entries sorted in the second column by investment name. Since most retirement plan administrators offer such a wide mix of investments, this may be your best place and method to start your search for the highest ranked funds and annuity subaccounts available to you.

22.) Should I Roll-Up more frequently than every 90 days if I can find a higher performing fund/subaccount?

You might improve your plan's year-end performance slightly (assuming you can switch funds/subaccounts without an added charge by your plan administrator), but it may not be worth the additional effort. You may, however, be able to reduce some of the damage to your retirement plan from a new bear market from more frequent Roll-Ups--but again, the differences in final performance will be marginal. Furthermore, all Annuities Pilot risked based momentum signals and parameters were optimized for a 90-day holding period.

23.) For success do I need to find a fund/subaccount that is always ranked in the "green" section of your Ranking Tables?

The simple answer is no. Naturally, the higher ranked funds/subaccounts will almost always perform the best over time. While it would be preferable to always choose funds/subaccounts ranked in the "green" sections of our Ranking Tables, merely Rolling-Up to a higher ranked fund/subaccount after your 90-day holding period will still dramatically improve your retirement plan's performance. Staying in the "green" sections of the Ranking Tables will always be optimal, but very few plan administrators will provide you with that capability. Most plans offer limited investment options to help preserve operating costs for their members. Just Rolling-Up to a higher ranked investment every 90-days will produce a remarkable improvement in your retirement plan's total return.

24.) My plan offers similarly ranked annuity subaccounts and mutual funds. Which should I choose?

Remember, all annuity subaccounts are based on underlying mutual funds or indexes. Since the insurance company or VA provider of the annuity subaccounts often charge an internal fee or premium for their supposed "added" value, the all-in costs for the "parent" mutual funds are likely to be cheaper than the annuity subaccounts on which they are based. There may be some exceptions, but this is generally a good "rule of thumb" to follow. If the mutual fund is ranked similarly to the available annuity subaccount, even if the subaccount is ranked slightly higher, we would still suggest choosing the mutual fund.

25.) Some of my retirement plan's funds or annuity subaccounts aren't listed on your Ranking Tables. Can you add them for me?

Annuities Pilot covers about 90% of the universe of annuity subaccounts and 75% of mutual funds available to 403(b) and 457(b) retirement plans. We often add new funds and subaccounts when sufficient requests come in. If you'd like us to cover a specific investment(s) please send an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will consider making the addition(s).

26.) Are money market funds ranked right along with both stock and bond funds/subaccounts?

Yes, see "How our Rankings Systems Work". This protects your retirement plan's equity when either the stock or bond market enters a substantial period of decline. The money market fund(s) will always rise to the tops of the Rankings Tables for your Roll-Ups since they will carry higher rankings than the negatively performing stocks and/or bonds. This tactic will shelter your retirement plan from protracted declines in stocks, bonds or both stocks and bonds. In fact we often rank money market funds from other fund/annuity providers right along with the providers own money market funds to increase the odds of at least one money market fund rotating up to the top of a Ranking Table in the early stages of a bear market.

27.) Should I avoid leveraged and inverse funds and subaccounts?

While we prefer to avoid the leveraged and inverse funds, subaccounts and ETFs, some retirement plan holders may prefer to include them. However, it has been our experience, after many years of research and system back testing, that the use of such leveraged and inverse funds not only does not add to total returns but decreases those returns. Therefore, in our opinion, if such a fund rises to the top of a Ranking Table we believe it should be avoided. In such an instance we would prefer to chose the next most highly ranked investment choice that might be available to you in your plan. Typical providers of such funds would include such offerings from Profunds, Rydex, Direxion Funds and some others.

28.) How often should I Rebalance my retirement plan account to concur with your Allocation Table?

Frequent Rebalancing to match our Allocation Table percentages for stocks and bonds is not that critical to your plan's performance. We would suggest that you Rebalance to match the percentages in your favorite AP Portfolio every time you do a Roll-Up or every six months whichever comes first. The only exception to that rule is when we chose a different Pilot Portfolio as optimal. If we "green" highlight a different Portfolio as optimal you should Rebalance to the new Portfolio percentages of that Portfolio...if you choose to switch Portfolios at all.

29.) Sometimes I see what looks like a duplicate ranking table record? What do I do?

Occassionally, there may be what appears to be a duplicate fund or annuity subaccount record within a particular Ranking Table. If it is not a duplicate it would be a VERY similar investment vehicle. Regardless, the Pilot Rank would be the same for both. Therefore you can safely disregard an seeming duplicates.

30.) What does a minus (-) ranking suggest?

If you see a minus (-) ranking in any one of our tables is indicates that the particular fund/annuity subaccount is ranked in the bottom half of that table. Minus (-) ranked investments are prime candidates for doing a Roll-Up. If one of your investment choices came from a recent Roll-Up and is now ranked minus (now in the bottom half of the table) we would suggest a Roll-Up be done even if the minimum 90-day holding period has not as yet expired.

 

Don't test the retirement waters alone. Put your retirement ship a league ahead by requesting your FREE BACK ISSUE or by SUBSCRIBING at our special reduced rates today!

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We will send you easy free access details by email to see a recent past issue of the Annuities Pilot Advisory on our website.
Don't test the retirement waters alone. Put your retirement plan a league ahead by signing-up at our special reduced rates today!

Great service. This is, by far, the best service for us 403b'ers locked into these crazy annuities that I have found. Great work!

Amon P., Woodbridge, VA

Annuities Pilot has finally made it easy for me to manage my 457 plan here at (name withheld) University. These rankings are sooooo easy. Thanks guys.

Warren F., NYC, NY

I have been very pleasantly surprised how easy you make it for me to get the best from our complex retirement plan here at...

Jake C., Evanston, IL

Yeah! God's gift to teachers, this thing really works! Works for my IRA too. Where have you been hiding all these years!

Sam R., Pittsburgh, PA

AP is professional and well supported and documented...by far and away the best of the lot. Great retirement service for us academics sitting on these annuity based plans. Keep it coming.

Bill K., Atlanta, GA

...See many more testimonials.