Annuity Basics

Types of Annuities

Although there are different types of annuities available for different situations, we’re here to help you discover which one may be right for you. Contact us today for a complimentary appointment with Arif M. Halaby.

What are the different types of annuities?

When someone gets a set amount of payments on a fixed schedule, that’s an annuity. Similar to a pension, an annuity may provide reliable payments each month or each year. Usually, these payouts happen on a regular basis until you pass away. Then, depending on your annuity contract, there may be death benefits as well. Typically, there are three main categories of annuities available to retirees and pre-retirees.

First, a fixed annuity is an insurance product that may offer a pre-set interest rate.

After a set number of years, your money may begin to receive that interest rate. Regardless of what's going on in the market, a fixed annuity contract may guarantee* a certain rate every year. The upside is that your insurance company commits to giving you this rate. The downside, however, is that you lose the ability to see additional interest even if rates, in general, are up.

Second, is a variable annuity.

For many reasons, these types of annuities may not be suitable for some retirees. For example, if your goal is to keep your retirement savings intact, a variable annuity cannot guarantee this. By definition, this type of annuity puts your money at risk in the market: it is variable. Also, variable annuities may not provide a fixed income you can count on.

Third, are fixed index annuities (FIAs).

FIAs may offer potential benefits such as: Retirement income you cannot outlive, a reasonable rate of return, over time, and guaranteed* protection of principal (backed by the claims-paying ability of the insurance company)

senior woman in beach chair at shoreline types of annuities

More About Fixed Index Annuities

One of our favorite sayings is, “The purpose of your money determines the place for your money.” For example, if your money has the purpose of providing you with income in retirement, you need to know you can count on it. A fixed index annuity (FIA) is a contract with an insurance company. Because of this, an FIA is not an investment. Instead, it is an agreement with an insurance carrier. You put money in, and the insurance company promises to keep it safe*, backed by its claims-paying ability. Of course, some terms apply with each FIA so be sure to contact us to learn more specifics.

The 2 Phases of an FIA

Each FIA has a period of time in which you allow the insurance company time to grow your money. The name for this is the accumulation phase. Indeed, different types of annuities have different time periods for this phase. Typically the range is somewhere around 5-10 years, but it can vary. In fact, certain FIAs may allow you to withdraw money sooner. Next, the distribution phase kicks in. During this phase, you may take money out of your annuity. The amount you can take out varies, but is typically around 10%.

What about taxes?

Fixed index annuities allow potential growth with tax deferral. Specifically, any money that remains within your annuity is non-taxable until you take it out. At that point, the money becomes taxable income. Therefore, your money may have a chance to be kept safe by the claims-paying ability of the insurance company without immediate taxes. Also, you may be able to take an income after the accumulation phase in a tax-deferred model. Tax implications may vary so be sure to seek appropriate counsel.

An FIA may also be an option for those who are younger than 59 1/2 and suddenly have an early retirement or severance package. If you were to get a lump sum of money from your 401(k) profit-sharing plan, you may be able to roll that into an FIA. Potentially, this could prevent you from paying a large immediate tax bill or penalty. Of course, this is a unique situation so terms may apply. However, we encourage you to reach out to us to see if this scenario may apply to you.

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