Taking Gains off the Table

Published February 2, 2018
The recent bull market has been an attractive place for investors looking to generate sizable returns on their investment. Ongoing speculation of a potential market downturn in 2018 is now leaving investors with the challenge of finding a way to protect their recent gains.
  • Speculation on how long the recent bull market will last is leaving investors with the challenge of finding ways to protect recent gains
  • You can protect your stock market gains with the Personal Pension or on a one-off basis through standard income annuity products
  • When preparing for retirement having a decumulation strategy protects against longevity risk and market volatility

Recent returns offered by the stock market have pleased investors looking for ways to generate sizable gains on their investment. While the bull market in 2017 proved impressive for stockholders, the volatility of the markets and speculation of a potential downturn in 2018 leaves investors to face the unfamiliar challenge of knowing what the best time to take your gains out of the stock market is and how to protect stock market gains by transferring into a different investment vehicle.

Protect Stock Market Gains

One of the hardest things to do as an investor is to take these gains off the table and protect stock market gains, especially in an environment like this one where each day seems to bring a new market high. Nevertheless, at Blueprint Income we have seen more and more clients do exactly this over the last two months. When one takes a closer look at this recent trend it is no surprise. People have made a lot of money in the stock market and many are feeling increasingly uneasy about what’s to come.

Check out this table, which shows how much certain portfolios of different sizes invested in the S&P 500 would have gained since the beginning of 2017 (not even including dividends).

Starting Ending Total Gain
$100,000 $128,207 $28,207
$500,000 $641,033 $141,033
$1,000,000 $1,282,065 $282,065
$2,500,000 $3,205,163 $705,163
$5,000,000 $6,410,325 $1,410,325

Source: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust. Prices based on 12/30/16 close and 1/26/18 close

Think about that for a moment — a $1 million portfolio gained nearly $300,000 since the beginning of 2017.

How to Protect Stock Market Gains

When it comes to preparing for retirement, make sure you have a decumulation strategy, i.e. a plan for how you’ll convert the assets you’ve earned during your working years into retirement income. If you prepare for retirement with just savings, you’re exposed to market volatility and risks. But, by utilizing a decumulation strategy that includes income annuities, you mitigate these risks, protect stock market gains and ensure that your savings can last as long as you do.

If a 65 year old male took the gains outlined above and turned them into guaranteed income, he would receive more than $18,000 per year for the rest of his life based on this quote as of 1/26/18. What an amazing use of unexpected stock market gains!

At Blueprint Income we’ve made it easy for you to lock in your gains by converting them into guaranteed retirement income. You can do this on a one-off basis through standard income annuity products, or set yourself up to be able to do this easily over time with the Personal Pension. Here’s some information about both:

Income Annuities

At Blueprint Income we offer income annuities from more than 15 of the top-rated insurance companies. Money used to purchase an income annuity is taken out of the market and transferred to an insurance company where, in turn, they guarantee you steady monthly income for life. You can buy annuities with both pre-tax retirement savings or post-tax personal savings. If you’re looking to have income start immediately, opt for an immediate annuity. Or, if you’re looking to have income start more than 2 years from now, you’ll want a longevity annuity or QLAC.

Click below to get real-time personalized quotes, where you can compare options offered from different insurers on an apples-to-apples basis.

Income Annuity Quotes


From there, you’ll get access to our annuity guides, team of specialists to help you analyze your retirement finances and walk you through the application process.

Personal Pension

The Personal Pension is an income annuity account. It provides the exact same benefit as an income annuity (steady, guaranteed retirement income), but accepts smaller and flexible contributions over time and across insurers.

Here you can see what locking your gains in would look like with a Personal Pension.  You’ll be able to set a goal for how to grow your pension over time. Note that all future contributions are optional, but it’s always great to have a goal.

Personal Pension Builder

With this strategy — transferring your stock market gains into an income annuity or Personal Pension over time — you get the best of both worlds. You get to keep your principal invested in the market for potentially high returns. And, you get to start building the foundation of your retirement by locking in a guarantee of retirement income, like a pension, for life.

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Lauren Minches

Lauren Minches

Financial Planning Professional

Lauren is an actuary by training with expertise in retirement, finance, and risk. She writes about annuities to make them easier to understand and evaluate. Her goal is to help people create retirements with more time for living and less time thinking about money.

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