241 | Should I Buy An Annuity? The Real Deal on Annuities with Kelsey Burke

Kelsey Burke



I’ll be honest: I’ve avoided the complex (and often misunderstood) topics of annuities and whole life insurance here on the podcast for a long time—simply because it’s pretty difficult to find an expert to speak about them who isn’t also trying to sell you a policy.


That changes today, because on episode 241 of Love, your Money, I’m introducing you to Kelsey Burke, founder of Apricity Financial Planning.


Kelsey spent nearly a decade working in the insurance industry, learning everything there is to know about a variety of annuity products and contracts in order to sell them to clients of her firm.


Meanwhile, her internal alarms were going off as she realized that the context of selling these products was neither as transparent nor as consultative as she wanted to be.


Now that she’s made a successful career transition from insurance sales to working as a holistic financial advisor, Kelsey has enough distance from the industry to see it for what it is–and she lends us her expert perspective to get an inside look at annuities in this episode.


We were able to get truly honest about what to look for with annuity contracts, the pros, cons, and opportunity costs of annuities, and who they’re actually right for.


(Spoiler: it’s not everyone. Far from it, in fact.)

Here’s what you’ll find out in this week’s episode of Love, your Money:

  • What makes Kelsey an expert on annuities, and what caused her to switch from insurance to holistic financial planning
  • What an annuity is, and how it differs from an individual retirement account (IRA)
  • The complexities of annuities, and what might surprise you if you own one
  • What’s often overlooked when buying an annuity, and how it actually might fit into your long-term financial plan 
  • How commissions on selling annuities works
  • The opportunity risk of putting your money in an annuity 
  • What happens to the money in an annuity in the event of premature death

Inspiring Quotes

“Do not go out and buy an annuity the first time you see it. You need to go through it with your advisor a couple of times to really understand what it is before you would ever think about actually signing on that line.”

“You're missing out on a lot of growth potential by locking money up inside of an annuity that is going to restrict when you have access to it and is going to restrict how much you can earn on that money.”

“Never, if your goal is long-term growth, would I say an annuity is the right fit.”

“Trust who you're working with, right? That's the key there.”

“I've started to see money more as an energy flow and the more we can get money into the hands and flowing towards people who want to do good with it, the better off we will be; the better off the world will be.”

Resources and Related to Love, your Money Content


You’ll get exclusive insights from Hilary and the Love, your Money podcast on ethical wealth-building, investing, and smart ways to plan for your money to outlive you.


Enjoy the Show?​



Hilary Hendershott: Well, hello, money lover. Welcome to the first in a two-part series on possibly the most misunderstood insurance products out there, those being annuities and whole life insurance. I’ll be honest, I’ve largely avoided covering these topics until now because it’s actually pretty difficult to find someone who can be considered an expert who isn’t also trying to sell you a policy. I want my interviews to be reasonably unbiased so you can make your own decisions. And annuities and whole life insurance policies are commissioned products, so folks who know about them are inevitably pushing the sale. I mean, I have heard some college professors talk about them but in my experience, they really don’t understand the nuances of the contracts or the internal costs.


So, recently, I realized that I can actually find you product experts who are no longer selling the products and that’s because oftentimes when people get into insurance sales, they find they actually want to do what I do, which is comprehensive fiduciary financial planning. So, some of them pivot careers and give up earning commissions to sell insurance but, of course, they’re still experts.


So, for the first time, I’m bringing you interviews with two other financial advisors on Love, your Money. Let me just be transparent and say I don’t recommend or use either of these two products, not for myself; not for my family members; not for my clients. I think they’re overpriced and under-earning, but I often see them in people’s portfolios and I find myself helping new clients unwind their complex and expensive insurance contracts so we can maximize both expected earnings and their optionality going forward. And I wanted to be able to share with you why I’ve come to that decision. So, I’m bringing in the experts.


Today, we’re talking with Kelsey Burke. She’s the founder of Apricity Financial Planning. She loves being goals- and life-planning-focused with her clients. She keeps their goals and philosophies in the forefront of every conversation and recommendation. This is after years of working in insurance, learning everything there is to know about a variety of annuity products and contracts, and suffering internal conflict as she realized that the context of selling these products was neither as transparent nor as consultative as she wanted to be. I’ll let her tell her story best, and don’t forget to tune in next week for my interview with financial planner and whole life insurance expert, Ashley Foster. Here we go.




Hilary Hendershott: Well, it’s a great honor to have Kelsey here today. I just want to welcome you, Kelsey. Thanks for being on the show.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Hilary. I’m really excited to be here.


Hilary Hendershott: Tell us what makes you an expert on annuities.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. So, I started my career as a financial advisor in 2014 at a pretty large insurance company. So, for those who don’t know, annuities are an insurance product. Because I was new to the industry at an insurance company, a lot of my foundational knowledge comes from that insurance-based approach with annuities and life insurance. So, while I was there, I did sell a lot of proprietary products, meaning the products that my company was selling, but we also had a lot of wholesalers from other companies coming in and explaining their products. I knew ours really well but I also had a pretty good baseline for what else was out there in the marketplace.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. And now you’re doing something different. So, did you just decide you wanted to expand into being a financial advisor, or what caused the change?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. No, that’s a really great question. Thanks for asking. The insurance company I was at did start introducing some financial planning, and I found it incredibly interesting. And then once you get your foot in the door there, you start to realize how different it can be. So, I started exploring outside of what I was being taught by my insurance company and decided this was the route that made more sense for me and where I wanted to go, long-term.


Hilary Hendershott: Sure. I know a lot of people feel that way when they get the sense of the difference between selling products and being able to give comprehensive advice. So, you’re here today because of your product knowledge. So, I want to make the most of our time together. Let’s start with the basics. What is an annuity and how does it differ from an IRA, an individual retirement account?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah, definitely. Great question. So, an annuity, like I said, is an insurance product first and foremost. So, keep that in front of your mind. It’s kind of a counterpart to life insurance. So, whereas life insurance is there to protect in the case of a premature death, an annuity does the opposite. It exists to protect against longevity or the problem of outliving your money, potentially.


Hilary Hendershott: Which is terrifying for people.


Kelsey Burke: It is terrifying for people. So, that’s where it can be helpful. And I know they get a bad rap because of the fees and things, and we’ll cover a lot of that here but they do exist for a purpose, and it’s to protect against potentially outliving your money. Both life insurance and annuities, though, have evolved a lot over the years, so they’ve added a lot of different features and things you can do with these products, which makes them more attractive in some ways but also more expensive a lot of the time. So, there’s just a lot that’s changed with annuities and with life insurance.


Hilary Hendershott: So, you see the industry evolving in ways that make things both easier to sell and more expensive.


Kelsey Burke: Right. Definitely. Yeah, I would say that the life insurance and annuity industry has made things, like you said, easier to sell. They’ve added these features that can be beneficial but because of all these additional features, it does become more expensive for the client at the same time. So, you’ve got to be careful of that.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. And my purview with people, because people come to explore a relationship with me and my firm as a professional when they’ve already got what they’ve got. So, they come to me with what they come to me with and a lot of times there’s an annuity in one of the accounts.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah.


Hilary Hendershott: And so, my question is kind of like, let’s say someone’s listening and they’ve purchased an annuity. What are the potential paths forward if after today’s conversation, I mean, obviously if you want to keep it, keep it, great. But if you don’t, what can then come next? What are some of the things people don’t know or get surprised about with annuities?


Kelsey Burke: So, I’ve had the same situation you’re talking about, both in my current role and before, where somebody is coming to me with an annuity that they’ve already purchased. One of the biggest things I see that clients did not realize when they purchased the annuity is that there’s a deferred sales charge. So, what that means is within the first several years of owning that annuity, it’s going to cost you money to do something different with the money if you wanted to move it somewhere else. Typically, that’s 10 years but I’ve seen as low as 5, as high as 12. But that’s the first thing, and I feel like it does get glossed over a lot by the person selling the annuity because they don’t anticipate it coming into play sometimes.


Hilary Hendershott: They don’t want it to, yeah.


Kelsey Burke: When you’re having a conversation with somebody or when an advisor is having a conversation with a potential client and they are talking about an annuity, it’s a long-term product. It doesn’t make sense to hold this for a small period of time, with the plans to sell it in the future, right? So, a lot of times it’s just not part of the conversation, but it should be. To your point, it needs to be at least discussed.


Hilary Hendershott: It’s the equivalent of an early termination fee. Imagine if someone came to you as a financial advisor and you said, “Well, I’m going to penalize you if you leave me within the first 7 or 10 years.” That’s material to the relationship. So, I agree. I get it.


Kelsey Burke: Definitely. Yeah. So, I’ve run into a lot of clients that don’t realize that fee even exists. And then the other big misunderstanding, and maybe you’ve seen this too in your relationships, is some of these features that I mentioned. They become very nuanced, largely misunderstood. I don’t know if it would help here if I give an example of a specific one.


Hilary Hendershott: That would be great. I’m like, what are the most interesting or complex features? Tell me.


Kelsey Burke: Right. So, one that I’ve seen a lot is an income rider on an annuity that offers a roll-up. So, maybe some of your clients are like, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard these words before. I think I have one of those,” or some of your listeners, not clients. But a rider is a fancy term for one of those benefit features that gets attached to an annuity or a life insurance product. So, when an income rider that has a roll-up is on an annuity, what that means is you’re going to have your account value—that’s the money that you put into the annuity with the advisor. That’s your account value. On your statements, you’re also going to see this protected income value. So, you’re seeing both of these numbers.


That protected income value, it might have a different name depending on what company you’re working with but that is the number that has a roll-up rate, which means it is going to continue increasing even if this other number, your actual account value is going up and down with the market. So, we’re talking about a variable annuity here. This is one that’s invested in the market. So, even if your account value is going up and down, this protected income is going to continue to go up. If the market is going up, those numbers might look really similar for a long time but as soon as the market starts to go down and you see your account value go down, but that protected income value continues to go up, clients would start wondering like, “What’s going on? Like, why don’t these numbers match anymore? What’s the difference?”


And too often I’ve seen where they don’t understand the difference between the two numbers, which one is their actual money that they have in the account and then this protected withdrawal value that is there just to guarantee some sort of income in the future. It’s not actual, physical money that they own.


Hilary Hendershott: So, do you think it’s a little deceptive?


Kelsey Burke: It depends on how it’s presented to the client, for sure. I do think it’s odd the way they put it as a lump sum, instead of just showing the income amount per year that would come out guaranteed.


Hilary Hendershott: I would call that a little deceptive. Yeah.


Kelsey Burke: It always seemed a little odd. Yeah. I don’t know if it’s done on purpose to make it more confusing but unless you are dealing with this every day, it’s very confusing. It’s very easy to get…to understand why people are misunderstanding it. Advisors are misunderstanding it, let alone people who don’t deal with this day in and day out.


Hilary Hendershott: So, I’ve never sold annuities. So, my experience is always, someone comes to talk to me about their finances. I have them call the insurance company to see, “Could you get out? What would it cost you to get out? Like, let’s talk about what it would cost you to surrender this.” And then when they find out what the annuity actually provides for them, they’re inevitably disappointed. It’s like in some way, the salesperson led them to believe that they would get something called a guarantee, which is, and it is a guarantee, but it’s a very expensive guarantee.


Kelsey Burke: It is.


Hilary Hendershott: And I think they tend to use inaccurate, at least, maybe bombastic is the right word, language, right, that people are left with, that their returns are the payouts are going to be bigger than they actually are. That’s my typical experience. But I have more questions for you on the topic. I don’t know what you’ve seen with that because you’re probably the one explaining it to them because you read the contract in more detail than I do.


Kelsey Burke: Right. I’m a visual person and I’ve found that most of the people I’m working with are visual learners as well. So, for me to explain it here over a microphone is pretty challenging. Like, you’ve got to have the charts and the graphs to go through and it takes a few rounds, like do not go out and buy an annuity the first time you see it. You need to go through it with your advisor a couple of times to really understand what it is before you would ever think about actually signing on that line.


Hilary Hendershott: Right. Okay. Good point. And I understand what you mean. I say the same thing to people. When they ask me to talk about the stock market, I say, “The audio format is really not going to do it justice. We really need to see the charts because the visuals are important.” Okay. Getting back to annuities, what do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of annuities?


Kelsey Burke: I think a lot of those features we just talked about are the most misunderstood but…


Hilary Hendershott: Complicated riders.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. The complicated riders, definitely, but the other thing that I see that’s often just overlooked when you’re buying an annuity is how it actually fits into the overall financial plan.


Hilary Hendershott: Say more about that.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. Particularly, I think the lack of flexibility with an annuity is just not considered often enough. Life doesn’t always play out the way we expected.


Hilary Hendershott: Rarely.


Kelsey Burke: Exactly, right. An annuity is a very specific thing, and it has a lot of expectations that go with it.


Hilary Hendershott: Rules, has rules.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah, it has a lot of rules. You’re assuming a lot of what the future is going to be when you purchase an annuity for it to actually be beneficial for you. So, we talked about the way it limits flexibility because it costs you money to do anything different with it within those first several years. But also, we’ve talked a little bit about how expensive these benefits are and a lot of times it’s a benefit that you’re not going to see for another 5 to 10 years. So, if you’ve been paying this very high fee for 5 to 10 years, and then you decide, “Oh, this benefit isn’t actually the benefit that I need anymore,” it’s a really hard pill to swallow to change your mind because you’ve already been paying all the fees for this benefit that now you’re maybe not even going to use.


Hilary Hendershott: It’s a good point. I recently had a long-term care insurance policy raise the premium. I only have two or three or four clients that have existing long-term care policies, and the premium about doubled. And my client said, “I can’t let the policy lapse because I’ve been paying on this investment.” I had to explain to her, “Insurance is not an investment. You’ve had coverage, right? You got what you paid for.” Right? So, choosing to be insured next year has its marginal additional costs. And unfortunately, that’s what’s happening. So, I think that’s a little bit similar to the kind of, I guess, hindsight regret that you’re describing. Okay. Did I let you finish that point about the misunderstood aspect of annuities?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah, I think you did. I think the other thing, we kind of talked about how it plays into the overall financial plan a little bit, but I think the other piece of that is the inflation piece. And that I think gets overlooked a lot when somebody is being sold an annuity, is how this actually looks in the future, if you take into consideration inflation. It might provide a guaranteed income that works for you today but is it going to…


Hilary Hendershott: In 20 years?


Kelsey Burke: Exactly. Will it continue working for you? And I think because we had seen such low rates of inflation over the past several years prior to 2021, the impact of inflation on a person’s retirement plan was just significantly downplayed by a lot of people. And it wasn’t considered an actual concern for a lot of people because it had been so low for quite a while.


Hilary Hendershott: That is a really good point. Are there annuities with cost of living increases?


Kelsey Burke: There are some out there. And there are some that are not guaranteed cost of living increases but there are ways they could increase based on the market and things of that nature. But again, you have to look at how it actually will play out. And when you’re looking at an illustration that somebody is showing you, you have to consider what it is they’re actually showing you, and are they picking different points in the market to make this look good? So, when I would show illustrations to my clients, I would always show like, this is a time period in the past that actually would look like the best-case scenario if we did it right now. This is a time period in the past that would actually look like the worst-case scenario if this is the point we had done it. So, these are the two extremes. Most likely we will end up somewhere in the middle. So, think about those things when you’re looking at an illustration.


Hilary Hendershott: That’s what I mean. Going back to what I said, my experience is people are generally disappointed when they find out what the annuity actually provides is that the illustration they were shown by the person who sold it to them wasn’t necessarily as fair.


Kelsey Burke: As transparent.


Hilary Hendershott: Fair-handed, I guess. Yeah.


Kelsey Burke: Right. I mean, it is easy to manipulate the illustrations.


Hilary Hendershott: Sure. Because when it comes to the stock market, every extreme has occurred. So I can show you any scenario I want to, right?


Kelsey Burke: Yes. So, be mindful of what scenario you’re actually looking at when you see that.


Hilary Hendershott: We already discussed how in the audio medium it’s tough to talk through the details of these kinds of products but especially the indexed annuities, I think people think they get all the upside and none of the downside. It’s like a win-win-win for them somehow. And I’m thinking, do you really think the insurance company doesn’t take their piece of flesh? Right?


Kelsey Burke: Right. Right.


Hilary Hendershott: I mean, I don’t know. Is that something you want to try to address…?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. I think the index annuities often get lumped in with variable annuities, but they’re not. So, a variable annuity is going to go up and down with the market. It does operate much more similarly to a stock market portfolio with really high fees. An index annuity, on the other hand, yeah, so I think that it’s important to keep in mind that index annuities are much more similar to a CD or a savings account than they are to an actual stock market portfolio. They’re a fixed annuity.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay.


Kelsey Burke: So, what that means is the insurance company is going to give you an interest based off of what the market’s done. You’re not invested in the market. So, at the end of whatever quarter, month, year, however they have that set up, they will credit you an interest rate. There’s always a cap. So, you’re not going to get the full amount of whatever the market’s done.


Hilary Hendershott: Never.


Kelsey Burke: And the other part that’s never talked about is you’re never going to get the dividends that you’re getting when you’re actually invested in the market if you’re in mutual funds and ETFs and you’re getting dividends from these companies. That part is not even factored into the indexed annuity in the crediting.


Hilary Hendershott: Oh, so the insurance company just takes the dividends and they’re not expected to give any portion of that back to you.


Kelsey Burke: It’s not considered in the crediting when they decide how much interest you’re going to get off of it. The way it works on the back end is very complicated so they’re actually like buying options to the side…they’re playing a game where they’re going to win. To your point, they know how to buy the options and hedge their bets.


Hilary Hendershott: That’s how it works in Las Vegas too.


Kelsey Burke: Right. Right. So, they know how to do that. So, yes, they’re going to figure that out but that’s also then how, right, they can make certain guarantees that they’ll be able to pay this amount of interest based on what the market’s done.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. That is a good point. Good to know. Let’s talk about the thing I hear most about product sales, which is the commission. Is there any way to know? I mean, you and I disclose what we charge from the very beginning to our clients, and then they can see it on their statements, and it’s all known, right? It’s even in our Form ADV, which gets filed with the government, state, or federal, and we’re not even allowed to make money a different way or charge more. It’s like baked in, right; it’s in the structure. So, let’s talk about, is there a way to estimate what the commission would be on the sale of an annuity? And are those revealed transparently? Are those shared in an accurate way?


Kelsey Burke: They’re not usually talked about. They are usually in the contract somewhere if you want to dig through and find it but they’re not as easily accessible as a commission on, for example, like a real estate transaction because the real estate transaction, you see it as a line item. This one is coming out of the money that you’re getting paid, right?


Hilary Hendershott: Because everyone knows if you sell your house, it costs 6% and you pay the buyer. I mean, everyone just sort of knows that number.


Kelsey Burke: Right. Exactly. But with an annuity, the insurance company is the one actually paying the commission. It’s not coming out of the money that you’re putting into the annuity. Not directly. You’re paying the fees to the insurance company.


Hilary Hendershott: So it’s an accounting thing.


Kelsey Burke: Yes. And the insurance company knows, based on what they’ve set up as the fee structure, they have an expected amount of fees they’re going to get based off of how long you’re in the product. Again, another reason for those deferred sales charges is because they’re expecting to have this for a certain amount of time and to get this amount of money off of it. And then they do pay the commission typically upfront. There’s other ways they can pay the commission but most of the time, they’re paying the commission upfront to the advisor. Like I said, I think you can usually find that within the contract but it’s not going to be like in bold print or anything like that. I did have some clients who would ask, and don’t be afraid to. It should be something you’re comfortable asking.


Hilary Hendershott: Is there some way to know? The contracts differ in whether you pay the client or the underlying investor pays a lump sum upfront or pays periodically for a period of time… Is there some way to guesstimate what a reasonable commission would be based on that number or a range?


Kelsey Burke: No, not really. It’s more based on the product than it is on how much the client’s putting in. It’s a percentage based on different product types. So, variable annuities usually have higher commissions. The more riders you’re putting on there, the higher the commission usually. Fixed and indexed annuities have lower commissions.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. Well, good rule of thumb. Got it. Okay. Perfect. So if you ask the salesperson, do they have to answer honestly or can they be deceptive? Now, you can’t see her face if you’re listening in the podcast feed. She’s like checking her memories. Her eyes are up and to the left. I could tell that you’re a very honest person, and it doesn’t come across to you that someone might be deceptive.


Kelsey Burke: Right? It would not have occurred to me, but I guess, I mean, they could. They could make it up but, obviously, if you find out they were lying, you could get them in trouble for that, too, but that is a he said, she said situation, right? Trust who you’re working with, right? That’s the key there.


Hilary Hendershott: I know. Yeah. I know. I know. Okay. Something that came up in our discussions about annuities before we recorded today was this idea of opportunity risk. And I think that’s really smart that you pointed out to consider this because I think mostly people just hear the word guarantee and they’re like in. They’re like in. Like, my friend’s cousin’s uncle’s brother lost it all in the stock market. So, you got a guarantee? I’m in. Right? And we’ve talked about some of the ways. I mean, I like the comparison of, especially the indexed annuity or fixed annuities to be more like a savings account versus a market investment which can compound. A savings account is not going to compound. But talk about this distinction you have called opportunity risk and how that matters to underlying investors.


Kelsey Burke: Yeah, definitely. So, when I talk about opportunity risk, what I’m referring to is what you’re missing out on by putting your money in this vehicle. So, like we said, it’s more similar in a lot of ways… a fixed or index annuity is going to be more similar to a savings account or CD. You’re running that same opportunity risk if you put your money in a savings account or CD. And I know I’ve heard you talk about this on the podcast before, right? So, you can do it but if you’re looking for growth, if the goal is growth, this isn’t the vehicle. This is a vehicle that exists for protection. So, you’re missing out on a lot of growth potential by locking money up inside of an annuity that is going to restrict when you have access to it and is going to restrict how much you can earn on that money.


Hilary Hendershott: It’s like that parallel universe where over 20 years according to the rule of 72, your money might have doubled or almost tripled.


Kelsey Burke: Right.


Hilary Hendershott: Right? And so, you should count down as your lost opportunity. If it was $1 million, you over 20 years lost out on potentially $2 million.


Kelsey Burke: Right. And again, it goes back to the individual person and what actually is important to them and what the goals are with the money. Never if your goal is long-term growth would I say an annuity is the right fit.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. Did you experience pressure to sell annuities when you felt like it wasn’t right for the customer?


Kelsey Burke: That’s a fair question. And as I pointed out in one of our other conversations, the compliance people are always going to be there to make sure that that’s not the impression you’re ever getting as a salesperson. They’re there to say, “Make sure that you have this all documented so that we can tell why you’re doing this.” But the truth is, too, that all of the training financial advisors are getting from an insurance company is sales training. It’s sales training.


Hilary Hendershott: You’re only getting paid if you sell them, right?


Kelsey Burke: Right. Yeah.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. It’s a little pressure.


Kelsey Burke: You know, if you want a paycheck, then…


Hilary Hendershott: The pressure that’s never articulated or said out loud.


Kelsey Burke: Right, right. But to be fair too, a lot of it was positioned as trying to find the people that this fits, not as selling it to people it doesn’t fit to necessarily, but about going out and seeking the people who it would fit, so a lot of nearing retirees who are kind of middle-class people that need that guaranteed income.


Hilary Hendershott: Maybe not a lot of savvy, maybe couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to be trusted to stay invested through a downturn. I get it.


Kelsey Burke: Exactly. Yeah, that type of person. So, it was really targeting a very specific demographic, I think.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. So, it wasn’t Wolf of Wall Street.


Kelsey Burke: Not quite. I didn’t feel that way, but to your point, I mean, you had to find the right people in order to get your paycheck, so yes.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay. So, if I buy an annuity to protect me against longevity risk, I’m terrified I’m going to outlive my money and I just need that guarantee, and I die the next year, what happens to my money?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. That’s a really good question. And it depends a lot on, again, which type of annuity you’ve bought. Okay. So, most annuities that I see in the marketplace now are deferred annuities, which means there is some cash value there. So, you are not, what they call annuitizing the annuity, right away.


Hilary Hendershott: Right. That means you turn on the payments, right?


Kelsey Burke: Yes. For simplification, we’ll say yes.


Hilary Hendershott: But your body language said no.


Kelsey Burke: So, you can turn on payments with an income rider without annuitizing the contract. So, that’s one of those, again, little nuanced things, but yes. So, most of the time, if you purchased an annuity and you pass away the next day, the next week, whatever it is, there’s usually some cash value there. And there’s usually a death benefit that will at least match the cash value. Some annuities do have a rider that has a death benefit that actually gets the beneficiary more than the cash value. But the beneficiaries’ options might now be limited based on whatever the annuities’ rules are.


Hilary Hendershott: They might not have full, unadulterated access to the money.


Kelsey Burke: Exactly. Exactly.


Hilary Hendershott: I feel like you have to think about it like this. When the annuity company sells you an annuity, they’re banking on that you’re going to die. You’re banking on that you’re not going to die, right? You win if you don’t die. They win if you do. So, why would they then pay your beneficiary? Because they need that pool of funds to pay the people who live extra long. Is that macabre? Maybe not the way you think about it?


Kelsey Burke: I understand what you’re saying because when we talk about life insurance, it does work very much that way. But with annuities, I do feel like it’s a little bit different because they’re banking on the fees for a certain amount of time to be able to cover those other expenses. Whereas if you do die and the money goes to your beneficiaries right away, they’re not getting those fees for that number of years. Again, depends on the annuity contract and what your beneficiaries’ options actually are. Most of the time, I’ve seen it that they can just take it or they can continue the annuity but you have to think about taxes, too. And that’s a whole other can of worms that we can get into.


Hilary Hendershott: But we won’t because we can’t expect people to listen to us go on about annuities forever. So, I do have three more questions for you. They’ll go pretty quick. And one of them, of course, is our signature question. So, first of all, and it’s two-in-one, first, do you own annuities? And second, do you sell them? Do you recommend them to your clients?


Kelsey Burke: I do not own any annuities. Again, I am a 37-year-old person, so I’m very much still in the growth phase of my investment experience. Will I buy an annuity later? Probably not, to be honest. I’m hoping that I’m in a position that the need for the income, the highest income possible… I’m just hoping that that’s not the position I’m in.


Hilary Hendershott: You’re intending it.


Kelsey Burke: Right. Exactly. But to answer your question, no, I do not own any annuities. Do I sell them? I have not sold any annuities since I left the insurance company. That’s not to say I never would, but I have not run into a situation that it’s made sense. And like you mentioned in the intro, I worked a lot with educators, so they already have an annuity wrapped up in their pensions a lot of times. Most of the time it’s not going to make sense, right, because they’ve already got a lot of their money locked up.


Hilary Hendershott: So, this has been absolutely illuminating and educational. Thank you so much. My last question, with all guests, is if your money were writing you a love note, what would it be thanking you or complimenting you for?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. This is a great question and it really made me think and challenged me a little bit, which I appreciate. I think that my money would be thanking me for taking the time to challenge the beliefs that I have had instilled in me about money from the time I was young. I don’t know. I’m sure some of your listeners can relate to this. I grew up in a Christian household where it was almost seen as like people who need or want money are greedy. And I very much kind of evolved quite a bit from that mindset, thank goodness, right, being a financial planner. But I’ve started to see money more as an energy flow and the more we can get money into the hands and flowing towards people who want to do good with it, the better off we will be; the better off the world will be. So, I think my money would be thanking me for taking the time to actually digest that and consider it so that I can treat it the way it deserves and treat it well instead of pushing it away all the time.


Hilary Hendershott: Well, I compliment you for having the courage to do that as well. I have always often said there’s no such thing as noble poverty, but I do think it’s important for some people to hear that actually said out loud because I think that is a foregone conclusion to an unfortunate subset of people. So, thank you. Thanks for sharing about that. Okay. Where can people find out more about you?


Kelsey Burke: Yeah. So, my firm is Apricity Financial Planning so it’s ApricityFP.com. You can find me a little bit on Facebook and that’s mostly where I’m at right now, but you can check out the website if you want to learn more.


Hilary Hendershott: What does Apricity mean?


Kelsey Burke: Apricity is the warmth of the sun in winter.


Hilary Hendershott: Oh, that’s sweet. There’s a poet inside you.


Kelsey Burke: I, maybe I do.


Hilary Hendershott: I love it. Okay. ApricityFP.com. Thank you so much. And, yeah, thanks for being on Love, your Money.


Kelsey Burke: All right. Thanks so much, Hilary. It was great.




Hendershott Wealth Management, LLC and Love, your Money do not make specific investment recommendations on Love, your Money or in any public media. Any specific mentions of funds or investments are strictly for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice or acted upon by individual investors. The opinions expressed in this episode are those of Hilary Hendershott, CFP®, MBA.


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