3-minute article

Ride the RILA wave

If you saw sales of an annuity product double in a single year, you’d likely ask two big questions: “what are my peers doing?” And “how do I get in on that?”

Such is the case with registered index-linked annuities (RILAs). According to LIMRA, RILA sales for the first half of 2021 were 105 percent higher than the same period last year. Originally introduced in 2010, RILAs — also known as buffered annuities, structured annuities and variable indexed annuities — are riding a rising wave of popularity as they help clients meet long-term financial goals.

Creating the groundswell is demand from consumers looking for an efficient way to manage portfolio risk. Start your search for prospects by looking at your Gen X clients.

Why the “Forgotten Generation” deserves attention
While often overshadowed by the baby boomers and millennials, Gen X represents a lower percentage of the population yet commands a high portion of wealth.

As a smaller and younger demographic, their collective wealth logically lags baby boomers. However, Federal Reserve data shows they’re catching up. Their share of household net worth recently surpassed their share of households. Plus, they’ve seen their wealth increase in recent years, with plenty of time still left on the earnings clock.

Age in 2021
Silent Generation
1945 and earlier
(Age 75+)
Baby Boomers
(Ages 57-75)
Gen X
(Ages 41-56)
(Ages 25-40)
Wealth % 15.15 52.18 27.63 5.02
Population % 7.60 21.80 19.90 22.00


Defining moments created demand
Gen X experienced the stock market highs of the 90s and were mid-career during the market crashes of 2001 and 2008. Their experience with both the highs and lows of the market, combined with today’s low rates and their time left to retirement, make RILAs a strong match for the Gen X client. “Gen Xers need a chance at higher growth to maximize their remaining years of saving. Plus, they want a level of protection to manage anxiety over the risk of loss,” says Chris Grady, EVP and Head of Retail Sales at Athene USA.  

RILAs rise to the challenge
RILAs were designed with specific features that help manage risk while providing greater growth potential than fixed income alternatives.

  • Mechanisms to manage risk. RILAs provide a measure of protection from loss due to market downturns.
  • Increase growth potential with index-linked performance. Money grows by earning interest credits based partly on the movement of an external stock market index. Cap and participation rates may limit the amount credited.
  • Defer tax payments on growth. Taxes are not paid on growth until money is withdrawn from the annuity.

Grady shares, “along with managing the risk of market downturns, RILAs also help manage the risk of inflation. People can put their money in options with zero risk of loss, but over time they lose purchasing power by not outpacing inflation.”

Take the plunge
RILAs may help meet the needs of an underserved demographic facing unique challenges in today’s economic environment. Find out how you can catch the wave with an annuity that gives Gen X clients tools to manage market risks while enjoying robust growth potential and the benefits of tax deferral.

While RILA specifications vary, our cap and participation rates are among the highest available — even allowing for higher-than-market returns in specific situations. Find out more.

This information is brought to you by Athene — where innovative annuity solutions and unique interest crediting strategies are powered by unconventional thinking.


Registered index-linked annuities have a risk of substantial loss of principal and related earnings. They are designed to be a long-term investment product used to help provide income for retirement and are not suitable as a short-term investment.