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American Families

Annuities Saved the Day

Bobby Dougherty
Boyton, Beach, Fla.

If you go from being a middle-aged, married housewife to a divorcée who has to find her first job, the prospect of having enough money to retire on can be daunting.

Bobby Dougherty knows first hand. The former Chicago real-estate agent responded to her divorce by earning her real-estate license and beginning work for the first time in her mid-forties.

The start of her single, working life was also the first time Dougherty thought about saving.

"I really didn't start saving for retirement until middle age because it never occurred to me that I not only would retire, but get old," she said.

Dougherty started saving with IRAs, always putting in the maximum to get the greatest tax reduction. She saw her money grow but wasn't entirely pleased with how little she knew about what was going on with the stocks and bonds she was invested in.

"I changed brokers from time to time, and I didn't know what they were buying and what they were selling."

When Dougherty's cousin told her about annuities, she was intrigued by the similarities to "old fashioned pensions." She bought an annuity from her cousin and has marveled at the growth she's seen in her investments.

In the four years she had the annuity before starting withdrawals, Dougherty said her money grew 42 percent. "I went in with a certain amount, and when I started taking out, I had a heck of a lot more, which I had never noticed in my investments before. It's been a win-win situation for me."

Though few of her friends utilize annuities, Dougherty said she loves the regular returns and security she enjoys.

"I have a great comfort level in annuities. I get it monthly, so it is like a pension."

Dougherty recently moved to Florida, where she said she's going to live on her money, travel and have fun.

"Now I'm retired with a nice little income. I think I just kind of lucked out."

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