Life Annuity is a unique way to grow your retirement savings portfolio and to create a supplemental retirement income
Life Annuity is a complex subject. Let’s take the seriousness down a notch and translate this explanation into an easy-to-understand language.
Imagine you have a piggy bank you fill with money over the years. When you retire or stop working, this magical piggy bank gives you a regular allowance of money every month for the rest of your life. This is a bit like Life Annuity Insurance.
How A Life Annuity Works
In real life, Life Annuity Insurance is a financial product you can buy to make sure you have a steady stream of income when you are older and no longer working. Here’s how it works:
- You Pay Money: Just like filling up the piggy bank, you pay an insurance company a certain amount of money upfront. This is called the premium.
- Guaranteed Income: In return, the insurance company promises to give you a regular payment, usually monthly, for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. This is your “annuity payment.”
- Predicting the Future: The insurance company tries to predict how long you’ll live on average. They use fancy math and statistics to figure this out.
- No Running Out: Even if you live longer than expected (yay for good health!), the insurance company keeps paying you so you won’t run out of money.
- Inflation Protection (Optional): You can choose to add inflation protection to your Life Annuity that increases your payments over time to keep up with the rising prices of things (inflation).
- Customizing: You can decide how you want your Annuity payments. For example, you might want payments just for yourself or for both you and your partner. You can also choose whether the payments stop when you pass away or continue to your partner or another beneficiary.
What Are The Types Of Life Annuities?
There are several types of Annuities, each with its own features and purposes. Here are the main ones:
These are like the “steady-Eddie” Annuities. You pay a lump sum upfront, and the insurance company guarantees you a fixed interest rate on your money. Your payments will be the same throughout the chosen period, typically for the rest of your life or a set number of years.
These Annuities let you play the investment game. You invest your money in a selection of investment options (like mutual funds), and the value of your Annuity goes up or down based on the performance of those investments. This means your payments can vary over time based on how well your investments do.
These are a bit like a mix between fixed and variable Annuities. Your interest rate is tied to the performance of a specific market index, like the S&P 500. So, if the index goes up, your Annuity value might increase, but if it goes down, your value might stay the same or have a minimum guaranteed return.
With immediate Annuities, you pay a lump sum upfront, and the insurance company starts giving you payments right away, typically within a month. These are great if you want to start getting income immediately after retiring.
These are more like a savings plan for the future. You pay money into the Annuity, and it grows over time. You choose when you want to start receiving payments, which could be years later.
These Annuities promise to pay you for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. They provide financial security, especially if you’re concerned about outliving your savings.
Fixed Period Annuities (Period Certain)
These Annuities pay you for a set number of years, regardless of whether you’re alive or not during that period. If you pass away before the term ends, your beneficiaries continue to receive the payments.
Joint And Survivor Annuities
If you’re worried about your partner’s financial security after you’re gone, this type is for you. It provides payments for both you and your partner’s lives. After one of you passes away, the survivor keeps receiving payments.
Longevity Annuities (Deferred Income Annuities)
These are like a retirement insurance policy. You pay money now, and the Annuity starts paying you a guaranteed income at a later date, which can provide a safety net for your later years.
The Disadvantages Of Life Annuity
While Life Annuities can provide financial security and steady income, they also come with several disadvantages and considerations. Here are some of the main drawbacks to consider:
- Limited Liquidity: Once you commit money to an Annuity, accessing it in a lump sum can be challenging. Annuities are designed for long-term income, so if you need a large sum of money for an emergency or unexpected expense, you might face withdrawal penalties or restrictions.
- Fees and Tax Implications: Annuities often come with various fees and expenses, such as administrative fees, mortality, and expense charges, investment management fees (for variable annuities), and surrender charges for early withdrawals. While Annuities can offer tax-deferred growth, withdrawals are typically taxed as ordinary income. If you withdraw money before a certain age (usually 59½), you might also incur an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.
- Potential for Lower Returns: Fixed Annuities might offer a guaranteed interest rate, but it could be lower than the returns you could potentially earn through other investment vehicles, like stocks and bonds. Variable and indexed Annuities are subject to market fluctuations, so there’s a risk of lower returns if the investments don’t perform well.
- Inheritance Considerations: Depending on the type of Annuity and the options you choose, the remaining value of the Annuity might not be passed on to your heirs or beneficiaries when you pass away.
It’s important to note that each type of Life Annuity comes with its own pros and cons, and what’s suitable for you depends on your financial goals, risk tolerance, and retirement plans. It’s always a good idea to carefully understand the terms and conditions before deciding on the type of annuity that fits your needs.
Contact us for more information about Life Annuities.