Addressing the "Missing Milestone"

WEST DES MOINES, IA | Oct. 29, 2019 — As Americans’ longevity continues to improve, the need to re-examine traditional retirement-planning milestones is becoming essential. While people are living longer, they are not saving as they should for retirement.  

At one time, “traditional” milestones beginning at age 50 and trailing off starting at 70½ were sufficient. Today, with one in four 65-year-old men of average health projected to live up to age 93, and one in four 65-year-old women projected to live to age 96, as reported by LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute Research, crucial and substantial opportunities are being missed to plan for the latter half of retirement.

Depending on a client’s age, traditional retirement planning includes addressing milestones like catch-up contributions, penalty-free withdrawals, when to start Social Security Benefits, and what to do with Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).  Even still, the majority of this planning starts to trail off beginning at age 70½.  In response to longevity trends and the fact that Americans aren’t saving enough for their future, Sammons Retirement Solutions® has developed the LiveWell® Freedom Variable Annuity, issued by Midland National® Life Insurance Company, to address what they have identified as the “Missing Milestone” in retirement planning.  

The "Missing Milestone"
These days, living beyond age 90 is a real possibility,” said Melissa Scheuerman, vice president, head of sales and business development at Sammons Institutional GroupSM. “As clients’ longevity improves, it’s more important than ever to help plan for those later retirement years, when healthcare and living costs could be at their highest.”

Scheuerman continued, “When you consider that current ‘traditional’ retirement planning generally trails off beginning at age 70½, clients can be left with a span of up to 30 years without an ‘official’ retirement milestone. At Sammons Retirement Solutions, we call that gap the ‘Missing Milestone.’” 

Addressing the "Missing Milestone": The LiveWell Freedom Variable Annuity
The LiveWell Freedom Variable Annuity was developed with the consumer in mind.  It includes a built-in Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) that can provide guaranteed income for life, and a first-of-its-kind Freedom DateSM feature that allows unrestricted access to a client’s accumulation value, even as income payments continue.

According to CANNEX Research, the LiveWell Freedom Variable Annuity may be beneficial for consumers who are interested in guaranteed lifetime income, but may be uncertain about if— or when—they may need that income stream in retirement.

By delaying income, fewer withdrawals are taken prior to the Freedom Date, which means there is greater potential for more money in the accumulation value at the Freedom Date.

CANNEX Research: An outside analysis of LiveWell Freedom
An analysis of the LiveWell Freedom conducted by CANNEX Research found that the Freedom Date feature gives clients an option that other products do not, including the ability to take partial or full withdrawals of the accumulation value without reducing income payments.

With other income products, the value of the benefit will generally increase with longer income delays, but unlike other income products, clients are allowed unrestricted access to this money later in retirement, even if they eventually decide to turn on income.

The likelihood of many riders providing income payments from the insurance company—rather than the consumer’s accumulation value—generally decreases when delaying income. However, by delaying income with LiveWell Freedom, consumers have a higher likelihood of having more money to withdraw at their Freedom Date.

CANNEX Research also found that when investing 80 percent in equities with LiveWell Freedom, it is more than twice as likely for the contract value to equal or exceed the starting premium, even after income has been withdrawn.

Given that the majority of variable annuity owners with GLWBs delay income payments—and many never turn income on—consumers can be rewarded with LiveWell Freedom by having access to their “unused income” to help cover essential expenses later in retirement, when medical or housing expenses may increase most.

Why is this important?
Once a client’s Freedom Date is reached:

  1. Consumers have unrestricted access to the accumulation value. They can take it all as a lump sum if they choose, and income payments will still continue.
  2. The GLWB charge stops, so consumers are no longer charged for this feature, even as they receive income payments for life.
  3. The payments they continue to receive are no longer drawn from the accumulation value; they are paid by the issuing company.

Trends suggest that consumers who purchase variable annuities with GLWBs tend to delay income for at least 10 years, and many delay taking income until they need to start taking RMDs at age 71 and 72. The uncertainty around whether or not income will be taken can result in clients paying for a benefit they never end up using.

The bottom line is this: With LiveWell Freedom, clients benefit from guaranteed income with unrestricted access to their accumulation value, and because the GLWB charge is eventually eliminated, they aren’t charged for the income benefit for the life of the policy.

Addressing Americans’ rising life expectancy while providing viable solutions to help people maintain quality of life at various stages of retirement is critical. The LiveWell Freedom creates a new opportunity in the marketplace and is a direct response to the missing milestone in retirement planning.

The LiveWell Freedom VA is offered through Sammons Retirement Solutions and issued by Midland National® Life Insurance Company. LiveWell Freedom VA guarantees are based on the financial strength of Midland National, rated A+ (Superior) Rating from A.M. Best, A+ (Strong) Rating from Standard & Poor’s and A+ (Stable) from Fitch Ratings.


About Sammons Retirement Solutions

Sammons Retirement Solutions (SRS) is a wholesale division of Sammons Institutional Group (SIG) that distributes and administers simple, innovative and straightforward mutual fund IRAs and annuities that can help individual investors live well in retirement.

Headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, SRS works with a nationwide network of broker/dealers and banks to provide retirement solutions that meet the needs of financial professionals and their clients.

We constantly review the market to ensure our solutions meet the ever-changing challenges faced by financial professionals and investors when planning for retirement. Our solutions give financial professionals and their clients clear-cut choices for retirement planning.

We apply original thinking to retirement planning while maintaining traditional values such as trust, transparency, respect and integrity. 



CANNEX Research Assesses Rider Design of Midland LiveWell Freedom VA, CANNEX. Available at

Variable Annuities are designed for long-term investing, such as retirement investing, and are subject to market risk including loss of principal.

Securities distributed by Sammons Financial Network® LLC, member FINRA. Insurance products are issued by Midland National® Life Insurance Company (West Des Moines, IA). Sammons Institutional GroupSM, Inc. provides administrative services. Sammons Financial Network® LLC, Midland National® Life Insurance Company, and Sammons Institutional Group℠, Inc. are wholly owned subsidiaries of Sammons® Financial Group, Inc. Sammons Retirement Solutions® and Midland Retirement Distributors® are divisions of Sammons Institutional Group℠, Inc.

LiveWell® Freedom Variable Annuity is issued on form AS153A/ICC18-AS153A (contract) and AR354A/ICC18-AR354A, AR355A/ICC18-AR355A, AR346A.2/ICC18-AR346A.2 (riders and endorsements) or appropriate state variations by Midland National® Life Insurance Company, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. The LiveWell® Freedom Variable Annuity is not available in New York.

All contract guarantees, including the Freedom Date, are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company and do not apply to the variable subaccounts.

A.M. Best is a large third-party independent reporting and rating company that rates an insurance company on the basis of the company's financial strength, operating performance and ability to meet its obligations to policyholders. A+ is the second highest rating out of 15 categories and was assigned to Midland National® Life Insurance Company as part of Sammons® Financial Group, which is comprised of North American Company for Life and Health Insurance® and Midland National® Life Insurance Company, affirmed on July 6, 2017. For the latest rating, access

S&P Global Ratings awarded its "A+" (Strong) rating for insurer financial strength on February 26, 2009 and affirmed on October 19, 2016 to Midland National® Life Insurance Company. The "A+" (Strong) rating is the fifth highest out of 22 available ratings, as a member of Sammons® Financial Group.

Investing in variable annuities involves risk, including potential loss of investment. You and your client should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the variable annuity and its underlying investment options carefully before investing. The prospectus and/or summary prospectus contain this and other information. You or your client can call 866-747-3421 to obtain a current prospectus for the variable annuity and its underlying investment options. Please read it carefully.