Annuity

What Happens to an Annuity When I Die?

What Happens to an Annuity When I Die?

People who own annuities have something that not only can take care of their financial needs, but also provide money even after their death. In addition to benefits for owners, an annuity can be a valuable inheritance for beneficiaries, like spouses, or other persons. Certain benefits can become available to beneficiaries when a contract owner passes away. 

As the contract holder, you may setup your annuity in ways that will take care of your loved ones, even when you are not with them anymore. The amount of money available after your death will depend on the type of death benefit offered by the specific annuity you have. Let’s get into more details of what happens to an annuity when someone passes away. Read More

How Long is the Accumulation Period for Immediate Annuities?

How Long is the Accumulation Period for Immediate Annuities?

The short answer? Immediate annuities actually don’t come with an accumulation period. Once you have paid premium into the contract – in most cases a one-time lump – the insurance carrier will start income payments nearly right away. Your income payouts may start anywhere from 1-12 months after the premium payment date.

When this starting date is depends on your contract and frequency of payments. You may receive income on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual basis. Many contract holders opt for a monthly payment schedule.   

The insurance carrier puts the entire sum of your premium into a pool of other premiums it has been paid. Then it allocates these premiums into conservative, low-risk investments. In return, the carrier pledges to make payments to you – or someone you specify – for a specified period of time, which can be for the rest of your life. The income you receive includes a fixed sum and interest paid on a continual basis.  

Therefore, immediate annuities don’t have an accumulation period – there is little time between when you pay premium and start receiving income. Many immediate annuity contracts start income payments just a month after the day you bought your annuity.

Where accumulation periods do apply is with deferred annuities. In these contracts, your money will be left alone for a number of years before you start taking income. Let’s get into more details below. Read More

Annuity Options Explained — A Fast Guide to Deciphering Annuity Choices

Annuity Options Explained -- A Fast Guide to Deciphering Annuity Choices

Are you considering different annuity options for your retirement portfolio? An annuity is a type of insurance product, purchased from a life insurance company and/or an annuity company. Annuities are popular retirement options due to the safety they offer for your money, the potential for tax-deferred growth, and their reliability for giving permanent, lifelong income.

That being said, sometimes it can be confusing when you try to make sense of different annuity types, contract features, benefits, and downsides. Since you would commit a sum of your money to an annuity contract for a period of time, it’s prudent to do research and develop an understanding of your annuity options before committing to any financial decision. Here is a short guide to help you get started on understanding the different annuity options. Read More

Is an Annuity Death Benefit Taxable?

is-an-annuity-death-benefit-taxable

The proceeds from an annuity death benefit are taxable when they are received by the beneficiary. In the case where the recipient is a surviving spouse, he or she can initiate certain measures to defer the payment or taxes on the amount received.

In other instances where the recipient is not the spouse, the recipient will have to pay taxes on the money he or she receives from the annuity. Depending on who the beneficiary is, these funds may be subject to estate taxes as well.  

Before deep diving into this, it may be useful to have a clear understanding of what an annuity is. A simple way to think of an annuity is to refer to it as an insurance product that offers a certain income benefit, backed by contractual guarantees. It can be utilized as a component of a retirement benefit plan.

As an individual, you can purchase the annuity by paying a lump-sum premium payment or by making several premium payments over an extended span of time. The annuity premiums are allocated into the annuity contract, and the annuity owner receives benefits as the money grows over time. 

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Qualified Annuities vs. Non-Qualified Annuities: What’s the Difference?

Qualified Annuities vs. Non-Qualified Annuities: What's the Difference?

While researching your retirement income options, you have probably come across the concept of annuities. Chances are the general idea of annuities is pretty straightforward. But once you start digging deeper and reading through the different annuity terms and concepts, things may start looking a bit more involved.

If you are thinking about buying an annuity, then one decision that you will make is whether to opt for a qualified or a non-qualified annuity. The good news is that these terms apply to all of the different types of annuities: fixed, indexed, variable, and so on.

The difference between the two is the type of money you may put in them: after-tax dollars or income that you haven’t yet paid taxes on, pre-tax dollars.

While this is the essential difference between qualified and non-qualified annuities, knowing the basics of both types can help with making a well-informed decision.

So, let’s get into the basics of a qualified annuity versus a non-qualified annuity. Read More

What is a Market Value Adjusted Annuity?

What is a Market Value Adjusted Annuity?

Have you ever heard of a market value adjusted annuity? If you are planning for your retirement income, then you may be considering an annuity as one of your options. Of course, there is a number of possibilities when it comes to purchasing annuities. So, it is important to understand clearly what annuities are so you can make sound financial decisions.

In cases when you are looking for tax deferral and an instrument which can offer safe growth and reliable future income, a fixed annuity can be the perfect option. These typically entail an average contract of seven to twelve years and guarantee a minimum annual interest rate. While the duration of the contract and interest rates are important to consider, you should also take into account whether the annuity is subject to a Market Value Adjustment (MVA). It’s common for an MVA to be attached to fixed annuities, and as you probably noticed, it’s these contracts with an MVA that are called “market value adjusted annuities.”

Before making a decision, it’s important to know what a market value adjusted annuity is. So, let’s get into it. Read More

Should You Put Your Retirement Savings into Annuities?

Should You Put Your Retirement Savings into Annuities?

Do annuities make sense for your retirement portfolio? Well, when used right they can be a very powerful financial vehicle, especially for retirement. Annuities allow an investor to pay a lump sum of money upfront and then receive an income stream in return for a set period of time. The insurance company is bound to provide this income stream by contractual guarantees. The income stream can last anywhere from a set duration to a lifetime.

Here’s a quick look at some annuity basics and other helpful tips to consider. Read More

Using Annuities for Growth and Income Goals

Using Annuities for Growth and Income Goals

After years of hard work, all of us want a comfortable retirement. But it may be unclear as to what we need to achieve this. What steps are necessary for a worry-free financial life – the ability to spend with confidence?

Part of it means a transition in thinking. In real-world terms, it encompasses a shift in focus from asset values to monthly income. We want to be sure we have sufficient cash-flow for funding a retirement lifestyle. On the other hand, we should also be attentive to the matter of preserving wealth. With all those savings accumulated over many years, our money will now need to last for the rest of our lifetime.

However, this doesn’t mean that savings growth has to be put on the back-burner. For Americans looking for “safe money financial” vehicles, annuities may be attractive. In particular, fixed-type annuities can offer guaranteed lifelong income, tax-deferred accumulation, and growth via guaranteed interest rates or rising index values.

If you are investigating fixed annuities or fixed index annuities for personal growth or income goals, here’s a quick look at a few variables to consider. Read More

Reaching Retirement Savings Goals: Bank CDs or Fixed Annuities?

Reaching Retirement Savings Goals: Bank CDs or Fixed Annuities?

As many of us know, October is the renewal month for many bank certificates of deposit. Some common selling points for bank CDs are low risk and steady earning potential. But today’s low interest rate environment throws some real curveballs for retirement savers.

In fact, CD rates have remained low for some time now. And what interest rates might be in the future still remains unclear. With the diminished prospects for wealth accumulation, many people seek an alternative to bank CDs and their low yields.

When used properly, annuities are often tapped as transfer-of-risk strategies. Many Americans rely upon them for lifelong income security, dependable asset protection, or other financial assurances. Nevertheless, annuities of the fixed variety – particularly fixed index annuities (FIAs) and multi-year guarantee annuities (MYGAs) – can also offer value as tax-efficient savings vehicles.

If you are looking for alternatives to CDs, here’s a quick look at fixed index annuities and multi-year guarantee annuities – and how they can differ from today’s low-yield bank CDs as retirement-savings solutions. Read More

Should an Annuity Be Part of Your Income Strategy?

Should an Annuity Be Part of Your Income Strategy?

Record numbers of Americans are retiring. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be over 80 million retirees by 2040. Life expectancies are on the rise – people are living longer. And a large proportion of Americans worry about market risk. They get anxious over how the stock market performs or fear potential losses.

Because of these and other reasons, some Americans have been adopting annuities as transfer-of-risk strategies. They want the guarantees associated with these contracts – particularly the assurance of lifelong income, for many annuity buyers. For those of us worried about outliving our money or other income-related risks in retirement, this raises an important question: “Should an annuity be part of my income strategy?”

It’s indisputable that many Americans desire guarantees in their financial plan, and this number continues to grow. But that doesn’t mean annuities are right for everybody. If you are wondering whether an annuity is for you, here’s a quick look at some situations you may want to consider. Read More

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