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Often it can be quite a chore to compare annuities.  There are many ways to get quotes, but if you’re just starting, you should really understand what you need before you look at pricing.  

This table is an easy way to compare how all the types of annuities stack up against each other.  

SECONDARY MARKET ANNUITIESIMMEDIATE ANNUITIESFIXED ANNUITIESVARIABLE ANNUITIESINDEX ANNUITIESVARIABLE/INDEX ANNUITIES WITH INCOME RIDER
Is this option affected by market fluctuations?No. The benefit payments are fixed and not subject to market fluctuations.No- Principal is surrendered in exchange for lifetime IncomeNo. Interest credited based on Insurance Company general fund performanceYes- Account may lose value or gain with the markets.Account may go up with market gains, but will not go down with Market declinesAccount Value is separate from Benefits Value (or Income Value)
Can this option provide a stable, lifetime income?Payment designs can provide a dependable and predictable income stream based on life expectancy. Can be outlived without proper planningYes- Lifetime Income is specifically what this does.Possibly, though Fixed Annuities are more commonly used for safe appreciationPossibly, see Income rider and depends on contract.Possibly, see Income rider and depends on contract.Yes- Income amount will vary among contracts.
Is there a guarantee with this option?Yes. The annuity issuer guarantees payments to be made based on claims-paying ability. SS are senior corporate obligations above regular annuities.Backed by the claims paying ability of the Issuer, and Insured by state Insurance Guarantee funds, amounts vary by state. Backed by the claims paying ability of the Issuer, and Insured by state Insurance Guarantee funds, amounts vary by state. Backed by the claims paying ability of the Issuer, and Insured by state Insurance Guarantee funds, amounts vary by state. Backed by the claims paying ability of the Issuer, and Insured by state Insurance Guarantee funds, amounts vary by state. Backed by the claims paying ability of the Issuer, and Insured by state Insurance Guarantee funds, amounts vary by state.
What are the costs and fees associated with this option?No additional cost other than purchase price to the buyer.No additional cost other than purchase price to the buyer.No additional cost other than purchase price to the buyer.Subject to account management fees and mutual fund/ investment management feesSubject to underlying index participation rates and caps.Additional Income Rider fees applied annually, varies by contract
Will this option keep pace with inflation?A fixed cost-of living adjustment (COLA) contract may be available.A fixed cost-of living adjustment (COLA) contract may be available.Interest crediting is based on company performance and may not keep pace with inflation.Account performance based on underlying investments and may or may not pace with inflation.Account performance based on underlying market index and participation rate. May or may not pace with inflation.Annuitized Income account values turn principal into income. Some income provisions may include COLA adjustments.
What type of investments support payments?A fixed annuity contract issued by a highly rated life insurance company.Insurance Company general investment accountInsurance Company general investment accountVarious approved mutual funds and/ or bonds funds held in the VA.Insurance Company general investment account, hedged by options for participation in a market index gain.See VA and IA
Can I make changes to this option after I select it?No. The benefit payments are fixed, illiquid, and not subject to change.No. Principal is surrendered upon Purchase.Generally, limited free withdrawals/ Principal subject to surrender chargesGenerally, limited free withdrawals/ Principal subject to surrender chargesGenerally, limited free withdrawals/ Principal subject to surrender chargesGenerally, limited free withdrawals/ Principal subject to surrender charges
What are the tax consequences?Principal grows tax deferred and compounding, income is taxable A portion of each payment is taxable income, and a portion is return of principal.Principal grows tax deferred and compounding, income is taxable but may be deferred until withdrawnPrincipal grows tax deferred and compounding, income is taxable but may be deferred until withdrawnPrincipal grows tax deferred and compounding, income is taxable but may be deferred until withdrawnA portion of each payment is taxable income, and a portion is return of principal.
What are about inheritance?Fixed income payment stream will pass to your heirs according to your willIncome benefits may pass to spouse if joint life option selected, otherwise, forfeit.Pass to your heirs with the rest of your estatePass to your heirs with the rest of your estatePass to your heirs with the rest of your estateIncome benefits may pass to spouse if joint life option selected, otherwise, any account value will pass to your estate.
 

“For all time periods and for all portfolios, the addition of the annuity leads to a decline in the portfolio failure rates.”

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