What is an annuity?
An annuity is an investment contract or policy between you and a life insurance company. Annuities can be a useful tool for retirement planning:
Annuities enable you to save money on a tax-deferred basis. You will not pay taxes until you begin to withdraw your money. Unlike a 401(k) or IRA, there are no limits on the amount you can put into an annuity.
Offers retirement income
You can purchase a contract that provides lifelong income or one that pays you for a specific time. Payments can be monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually at a designated time.
Provides benefits to your heirs
Some annuities include an insurance component. If you die before you start to collect on the annuity, it pays your heirs the amount you invested plus interest or the market value of the funds in your account, whichever is more.
Offers an array of investment options
You determine how much you want to invest in an annuity and the amount of investment risk you are willing to take. If you put your money into a variable annuity, your premiums can be invested in stock or bond funds. There are no tax consequences if market conditions prompt you to change how your balances are invested. You can also change from one fund to another without tax consequences. If you don't want to deal with the ups and downs of the stock market, you can invest your money in a fixed annuity, which would offer you a specific rate of return. Fixed Annuities Explained
Fixed annuities have these general features:
• Your principal is guaranteed by the claims-paying ability of the insurance company; it will never decline.
• The insurance company adds interest to your deposit each year.
• The annuity is for a specific term that you select. Generally, the longer the term, the higher the interest.
• All interest is tax deferred (you do not report it on your tax return) until withdrawn.
• You may withdraw 10% of your balance annually.
• If you withdraw more than 10% during the term, you will pay withdrawal penalties (called surrender charges).
Most fixed annuities offer an initial one-year rate and then the rate changes each year. A few companies offer a locked-in rate for the entire period (called multi-year guaranteed annuities).
Another type of annuity is called a variable annuity.
Variable Annuities Explained
With this type of annuity, rather than receiving interest from the insurance company, your money is invested in mutual funds. You may earn more or you could lose principal, depending on the mutual funds you select.
Maybe the best choice is an index annuity.
Index Annuities Explained
In this type of annuity, your principal is guaranteed, like the fixed annuity, but your interest each year is based on increases in the S&P 500 Index. So, your interest is tied to the performance of the stock market but you can never lose your principal. You get the guarantee of a fixed annuity, with the potential profit of a variable annuity.
Reason to consider annuities:
•Some Companies offer bonus premium for rollovers
•Lifetime income options
•Fixed Interest or Indexing options
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