With the downturn in the economy affecting so many people I know, I’ve become even more grateful than before that my husband and I both have pretty stable positions in relatively recession-proof industries. However, with stock values tumbling, the ones I grew concerned about most are my parents. Since they’ve been retired for over a decade, and I know their property taxes keep increasing and increasing while their income remains fixed, I wondered how they were coping.,Apparently, I needn’t have worried too much about them. Just as I was trying to find a way to tactfully broach the subject of money, Mom and Dad excitedly called to tell me of their plans to visit Italy for the first time. Well! They’re obviously not too anxious about their funds disappearing.,It turns out my folks have followed some good investing advice. They’ve never been wealthy—my dad worked for the same small firm his entire career—but they’re fortunate enough to be comfortable. And now they’re thoroughly enjoying retirement, even though their stocks aren’t paying the same dividends as before. The advice they followed was basic: diversify. One of the instruments they chose to invest in was a deferred annuity. There are many types of annuities; what my parents chose was a product that they were able to invest in, tax-deferred, while they were working. During that time, the interest was compounded on both principal and earnings without taxes and without risk. Now that they’re retired, that long term growth is paying off with a guaranteed income.,My parents have enjoyed a number of years of retirement, and I certainly hope they enjoy many more. The increase in life expectancy means all of us need to plan to live off retirement savings for quite a while. Among the types of annuities available, a deferred annuity allows the option of a guaranteed income stream for life. This guarantee has allowed my parents, and others who were fortunate enough to get good advice early, as they did, to relax about enjoying their retirement years. I started a modest annuity of my own a number of years ago; perhaps it’s time for me to get another annuity quote and do a bit more diversifying myself.