In an effort to continue to educate local and area residents of financial prudence and planning, the Cazenovia-based business 5 Ledyard Avenue Corp. recently launched CertainRate.com. The website is dedicated to listing annuity rates, calculating required minimum distributions and offering a number of learning modules.
“A fixed annuity can be bought just like a commodity … I thought that there would be a mass ‘move to safety’ [for insurance products amid wavering economic times] and I wanted to occupy that space. So we purchased that space, launched a website and named it ‘CertainRate’,” said 5 Ledyard CEO Jim Griffin. “We want to educate seniors that there is a guaranteed short-term position for them, even when the market is doing poorly.”
Through CertainRate.com, online visitors are able to search annuity rates, fixed index annuities, multi-year guaranteed annuities, fixed index accounts and fixed annuities. As current tax law specifies that all over the age of 70-and-a-half must begin making taxable withdrawals from their traditional individual retirement accounts, the new website includes a calculator which instantly determines the minimum required distributions using customers’ ages, martial status, spouses’ age and account balances. Borrowing a few modules regarding finance and economics from the Khan Academy, CertainRate.com includes a number of 50-minute educational videos regarding IRAs and taxation.
“We’ve created the first system allowing people to buy term life insurance without having to see a broker,” Griffin said. “We’re close to purchasing an insurance company that will focus on these consumer-oriented products that customers will be able to buy directly.”
Griffin said much of the inspiration for CertainRate.com came from the West Palm Beach-based site BankRate.com, which, over the last 10 years, has become the primary resource for people to get certificate of deposit and mortgage rates. The company first experienced a boom after the mass rush to safety at the beginning of the new millennium, and again during the 2003-04 increase in mortgage availability.
After studying the markets in the United States and abroad, Griffin said he then decided there was a niche that CertainRate.com could inhabit, and decided to offer the service through 5 Ledyard in Cazenovia.
In addition to starting CertainRate.com and 54Freedom — an company aimed at assisting the disabled community obtain life, accidental death and dismemberment and health insurance — 5 Ledyard has been working toward enlightening residents on topics such as Medicare and social security by holding information sessions. The well-attended forums feature industry professionals as guest speakers, free-of-charge to the public.
Griffin said the company is also involved in developing an informational video with local high school students, Bob Gabor and motivational speaker Angela Winfield, a blind, black lawyer working at Hiscock & Barclay in Syracuse.
Winfield lost her eyesight her sophomore year at Columbia University’s Barnard College, and went on to complete her JD at Cornell Law School. Griffin cites her resolute attitude as a large influence to him.
More information on services offered by CertainRate and 54Freedom can be found at CertainRate.com or by calling (877) 341-3341.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.