Annuities have remained dependable in a challenging economy because they offer a steady and predictable income stream to clients who lack defined benefit-pension plans or who find Social Security inadequate to their needs, says Gregory Gagne of Affinity Investment Group. A combination of annuities and life insurance can reduce or eliminate estate taxes and protect heirs from future tax liability, says John Homer of Oxford Financial Group. "When the situation is right, it is like putting on Cinderella's slipper -- everything changes," Homer says about annuities.

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