Fixed annuities are essentially CD-like investments issued by insurance companies that pay guaranteed rates of interest. In most cases, higher than bank CDs. Fixed annuities can be deferred or immediate. Deferred annuities accumulate regular rates of interest, with immediate annuities making fixed payments. These fixed payments are determined by your age and size of your annuity. The convenience and predictability of a set payout makes a fixed annuity a popular option for retirees who want a known income stream to supplement their other retirement income.
Advantages: Fixed annuities pay guaranteed rates of interest, which makes them appealing to investors wary of the stock market's unpredictability. What also makes fixed annuities appealing are their low investment minimums. Fixed annuities opening deposits usually range from $5,000 into the millions. An added benefit, interest paid on gains escapes taxation until it is pulled out of the investment.
An equity-indexed annuity is the combination of a fixed and indexed annuity. Equity-indexed annuities give you the best of both worlds. Contract terms usually offer a button floor performance and participation rate to ensure guaranteed returns. As with a fixed annuity, you have the low-risk appeal of a guaranteed minimum return - usually set by each respective carrier. You also have an opportunity at higher gains if the stock market rises, since an equity-indexed annuity's return is also tied to the performance of a benchmark index, Standard & Poor's 500.
Advantages: With an equity-indexed annuity, you get to participate in the upside when the stock market is rising. You also protect yourself against the downside of the market, since you'll earn a guaranteed minimum return even if the stock market performance declines. Equity-indexed annuities may pay a higher rate of return than a standard fixed annuity would, yet has less risk than a variable annuity.
Immediate annuities are mostly referred to as income annuities. Often compared to life insurance policies, this annuity gives you several income options. Instead of paying regular premiums to an insurance company that makes a lump sum payment to your beneficaries upon your death, with an immediate annuity, you give the insurance company a monetary lump sum in return for regular income payments until you die. There are flexible payout varieties, including payments for a specified period of time, I.e. - 10, 20, 30 years. Additional payout options include, payments that will continue as long as you and/or your spouse are living. Great for retirees, immediate annuities pay out immediately and can also be used to supplement one's income.
Advantages: Immediate annuities pay right away giving flexibilty to one's investment needs. Knowing you can count on a guaranteed income stream can be beneficial to individuals and retirees who don't want to worry if they will have enough income. This annuity gives you the peace of mind knowing you have a set income within your conservative investment.
If you are looking to retire, retired, or recently changed jobs, an annuity is a smart opportunity to earn a great bonus overnight and make your money work for you.