A recent study found that 67 percent of Americans indicated they would be willing to give up smaller pay increases in exchange for steady and reliable income in retirement. In the same study, 78 percent said the disappearance of pensions has made it harder to achieve the American dream. 1
With pension offerings on the decline, you may want to consider a fixed income component to your financial strategy. In short, adding an annuity may be an opportunity to help ensure a portion of your retirement income will be guaranteed.
What is an annuity?
An annuity is a contract you purchase from an insurance company. For the premium you pay, you receive certain fixed and/or variable interest crediting options able to compound tax deferred until withdrawn. When you are ready to receive income distributions, this vehicle offers a variety of guaranteed payout options — some even for life.
Most annuities have provisions that allow you to withdraw a percentage of the value of the contract each year up to a certain limit. However, withdrawals will reduce the contract value and the value of any protected benefits. Excess withdrawals above the restricted limit typically incur “surrender charges” within the first five to 15 years of the contract. Because they are designed as a long-term retirement income vehicle, annuity withdrawals made before age 59 ½ are subject to a 10 percent penalty fee, and all withdrawals may be subject to income taxes.
1 The National Institute on Retirement Security. “Retirement Security 2015: Roadmap for Policy Makers – Americans’ Views of the Retirement Crisis.” March 2015. http://www.nirsonline.org/storage/nirs/documents/2015 Opinion Research/final_opinion_research_2015.pdf
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1 Greenwald & Associates. Society of Actuaries. January 2016. “2015 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey.”
2 The National Institute on Retirement Security. March 2015. “Retirement Security 2015: Roadmap for Policy Makers – Americans’ Views of the Retirement Crisis.” http://www.nirsonline.org/storage/nirs/documents/2015%20Opinion%20Research/final_opinion_research_2015.pdf.
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