Financial protection is on consumers’ minds

New research from The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and Equitable highlights consumers' top financial concerns.

Hear about consumers’ concerns for retirement

Listen to the key themes of protection, growth and income communicated in the Insured Retirement Institute and Equitable Financial research survey. In this recording, you will hear it from the perspective of a hypothetical consumer.

What investors are thinking, feeling and saying

83% say that not losing principal is very important

Investors need and want protection. More than 8 in 10 say not losing principal is extremely or very important, and 79 percent of consumers are interested in a product that can provide protected growth.

7 in 10 conservative investors fear they will run out of money

Conservative investors need and want lifetime income.

92% recognize that inflation will have an impact on their expenses

Uncertain expenses and loss of purchasing power are major concerns. Six in 10 investors believe they are not well-prepared for their expenses associated with a major health event.

Most investors find the idea of structured investments and lifetime income appealing

Seven in 10 consumers find annuity products that offer princpal protection, the potential for growth based on stock market gains, and/or guaranteed lifetime income appealing. Eighty percent find structured and guaranteed lifetime income annuities easy to understand.

Full report

Protection, Growth and Income: Helping Consumers Reach Retirement Goals, is a 12-page report based on a research survey conducted on behalf of the Insured Retirement Institute and Equitable Financial.

Download the full study

What's an annuity?

An annuity is a long-term financial product designed for retirement purposes.  In essence, an annuity is a contractual agreement in which payment(s) are made to an insurance company, which agrees to pay out an income or a lump sum amount at a later date.  Typically, variable annuities have mortality and expense charges, account fees, investment management fees and administration fees.  In addition, annuity policies have exclusions and limitations, early withdrawals may be subject to surrender charges and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, a 10% federal income tax penalty.  Variable annuities are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal invested. 

Interested in learning more about annuities? Talk to your advisor or learn about Equitable’s annuity products.


The consumer survey consisted of 15-minute online interviews with 1,005 consumers ages 50 to 75, using the Research Now online panel. Fielding of the survey took place from December 5th to December 11th 2017. Beyond meeting the age requirement, consumers had to be either working full-time or be retired and working part-time, have household investable assets of at least $250,000, and take the lead or share in financial decisions for their household.

The final data were weighted by nested categories of age and investable assets to reflect the distribution of consumers in the population, according to the Survey of Consumer Finance.


The survey consisted of 15-minute online interviews with 300 financial professionals with at least $10 million of AUM and five years of experience, who have sold at least five variable annuities with either a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit and/or Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit rider in the past year.

Fielding of the survey took place from December 20th to December 26th 2017. Sample was drawn from a list of financial professionals provided by Financial Media Group, a leading compiler of lists of licensed financial professionals. Financial professionals received a $25 honorarium for completing the survey.

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading association for the retirement income industry. As a not-for-profit organization, IRI provides an objective forum for communication and education, and advocates for the sustainable retirement solutions Americans need to help achieve a secure and dignified retirement.

Greenwald & Associates contributed to the research design and analysis and fielded the research.


Equitable believes that education is a key step toward addressing your financial goals, and we’ve designed this material to serve simply as an informational and educational resource. Accordingly, this brochure does not offer or constitute investment advice and makes no direct or indirect recommendation of any particular product or of the appropriateness of any particular investment-related option. Your needs, goals and circumstances are unique, and they require the individualized attention of your financial professional.

The information and opinions in this report were prepared by IRI and Equitable. This report is not investment advice and should not be relied on for such advice or as a substitute for consultation with professional accountants, tax, legal or financial advisors. IRI and Equitable have made every effort to use reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive information and analysis, but all information is provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. IRI and Equitable accept no liability for any loss arising from any action taken or refrained from as a result of information contained in this report or any reports for sources of information referred to herein, or for any consequential, special or similar damages even if advised of the possibility of such damages. The report is not an offer to buy or sell securities or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities.

Before investing, investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a variable annuity and its underlying investment options. The current contract prospectus and underlying fund prospectuses, which are contained in the same document, provide this and other important information. Please contact the issuing company to obtain the prospectuses. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing or sending money.

Optional benefits are available for an extra charge in addition to the ongoing fees and expenses of the variable annuity.

Tax deferral offers no additional value if an annuity is used to fund a qualified plan, such as a 401(k) or IRA. It also may not be available if the annuity is owned by a “non-natural person” such as a corporation or certain types of trusts.

The investor should take other considerations when purchasing variable annuities. There are fees and penalties associated with variable annuities that may not be suitable for the investor depending on their needs.

Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

Annuities are issued by Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10104. Co-distributed by affiliates Equitable Advisors, LLC and Equitable Distributors, LLC (members FINRA, SIPC).

GE-135573 (04/2018) (Exp. 04/2020)