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What Are Annuities? How Do They Work?

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What Are Annuity Policies?The Hyers & Associates team works with annuities of all kinds. We will help you understand how these policies are for retirement planning – or as an investment opportunity.

Many people want a safe and reliable way to invest their money while retired. An annuity is a smart option worth considering. Understanding their purposes will help you choose the best way to manage your money and enjoy a stable retirement.

 

What Is An Annuity Insurance Policy?

An annuity is a contract with an insurance company. The contractual agreement is that you will deposit an agreed upon amount of money with an insurance company, and in return, they will provide a known rate of return for growth, income or both.

If you want income, you can choose to receive your payments on a yearly, semi-annual, quarterly or monthly basis. Alternatively, you can defer your income for a later time if you wish to grow your principal for future needs. Some consumers withdrawal only their interest, while other receive both interest and principal. Annuities offer several ways to establish a present or future income stream.

If you don’t want income, you can defer your interest gains. There is really not limit to how long some investors defer growth. When their current term ends, they rollover or take advantage of non-qualified 1035 exchange transfer rules to being a new annuity. This will defer gains even longer.

These accounts accept both pre and post-tax funds. Policies are referred to as qualified and non-qualified annuities, respectively. You can deposit IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or extra funds at the bank into an annuity account.

The Pros Of Annuities

 

  • A great way to plan for lifetime income
  • Better interest rates than CD’s or other fixed-income investments
  • Growth can accumulate tax-deferred and reduce your taxable income
  • With the flexibility of a deferred annuity, you can determine your future income stream
  • You can provide lifetime payouts to just yourself – or also a spouse if desired

 

The Cons Of Annuities

 

  • Unplanned early withdrawals can decrease future payouts
  • Large early withdrawals may also incur surrender charges
  • Some payouts are fixed and don’t account for inflation
  • Long-term accounts may miss out on future rate increases

 

Is An Annuity The Right Investment For Me?

Guaranteed Investment GrowthIf you are in a high-income tax bracket and have maxed out other investment opportunities, an annuity may make good sense. You need to be willing to invest your money for a set term – usually 1-10 years. Before choosing an annuity, be sure you ask questions and make sure you understand the contract before agreeing to it.

If you need to withdraw your money early, surrender charges can apply. Most annuities offer the accumulated interest and 10% or the principal each year with no surrender penalties. If you’re choosing an immediate annuity with guaranteed payments, then there would be no surrender fees. Be sure to ask your agent about all of your withdrawal options.

 

What Happens If I Die?

It depends on your contract, but with almost all annuities your entire account value pays out to your named beneficiaries. There is a lot of misinformation about annuity policies; please know that the insurance company does not keep your accumulated funds at passing.

Typically your beneficiaries have several options available to them. A spouse can usually keep the contract inforce or surrender the contract and reinvest the account value somewhere else. Children and other named beneficiaries will usually need to surrender the contract, but can choose to receive payouts over 5 years to defer any accumulated income taxes.

That being said, there is one type of contract the ceases payments after the owner dies. They are called life only annuities with no period certain. We don’t see these purchased very often, but they make sense in some very specific cases. Someone might purchase this type of contract to maximize lifetime income, but s/he would be very aware that payments would cease upon passing.

 

Call Us With Your Questions

If you are considering buying an annuity and have questions, the Hyers and Associates insurance team works with annuities everyday. We are available to answer any questions or concerns you have. There are a lot of things to consider, and we’re here to help make the process easier, so contact us today!

Category: Annuities

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