Fixed annuities are a contract between you and an insurance company that lets you build up capital in a tax-deferred manner. When the contract begins, you pay a lump sum to the insurance company and they agree, in writing, to pay a fixed rate of interest on the investment. At the same time, the company also guarantees the principal amount in full.
Annuitants, which is what investors are called, can opt to get monthly payouts for life or to take payouts for a fixed term of time, like 20 or 30 years. The contract specifies what happens to any remaining funds should the annuitant die before payouts equal principal.
About Fixed Annuities
Many people planning for retirement or looking to provide a guaranteed stream of income for themselves turn to annuities. But there’s a lot to know about these rather complex insurance products. Before putting retirement money or savings into an annuity, take time to know the key facts about one of the two main types of these structured insurance products: Fixed Annuities.
What is a Fixed Annuity?
In the most basic terms, an annuity is sold by an insurance company and offers a fixed rate of return. The primary advantage and selling point is protection against the risk outliving longer than your money. No one wants to run out of financial resources, especially in old age. People want to have a safe form of retirement income. Contracts like these were created by life insurance companies to guarantee a fixed amount of income to those who own the contracts, who are called “annuitants.”
In much the same way that you insure your home or car, you use an annuity contract to insure your income. In exchange for this guaranteed income, you pay the insurance company a lump sum at the time the contract is signed. The vast majority of people who buy annuity contracts use savings or retirement money to make the initial payment to the insurance company.
A fixed annuity can pay you a fixed sum monthly or yearly, and there are endless ways you can set up the contract so that you can get your principal back if you decide you want out of the annuity contract. See the list of advantages and disadvantages below for the basic pros and cons.
The majority of people who purchase an annuity are looking for a way to defer income tax on retirement savings. Like a certificate of deposit (CD), a fixed annuity lets you delay payment of taxes until you start receiving payouts from the annuity. The principal is guaranteed and the interest earned is not taxed. What are the specific benefits of this type of account?
No investment arrangement is perfect. The typical annuity has its downside like everything else out there. Here are some of the most common disadvantages of purchasing one.
Key Things to Remember
The chief advantages of fixed products include:
It’s always important to thoroughly research the company issuing the contract and the structure of the contract before committing any amount of funds to an annuity account.