Retirement Planning

Annuities as Part of Your Retirement Plan

How do annuities fit into retirement planning? The advantages of annuities are reviewed in this article along with a high-level overview of the types of annuities available.

Boosting Your Retirement Planning Confidence With Annuities

If annuities are part of your retirement plan, then you're in good company. In a published study, The Differences They Make: An Advisor, an Annuity or a Formal Plan in a Retiree's Life (2018), by the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute found 73 percent of retirees who own an annuity believe they will be able to live the retirement lifestyle they want.

How annuities work

An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company. You make an investment in the annuity, and in return the insurance company agrees to make payments to you on a future date or series of dates. The income you receive from an annuity can be paid out monthly, quarterly, annually, or in a lump-sum payment.

Retirement planning using annuities

Annuities are often used as a retirement planning tool primarily because they can allow you to turn a lump sum of money into a steady income stream for a set number of years, or even the rest of your life. Common uses for annuities in retirement planning may include, among other things, accumulating assets, supplementing Social Security or a pension, and receiving income for life.

Retirement advantages of annuities

One of the greatest advantages of using annuities for retirement planning is that you can put away larger amounts of cash and defer paying taxes. Just like your 401(k) or IRA, as long as you leave your earnings alone, the growth on annuities is tax-free until funds are withdrawn. However, unlike other tax-deferred retirement accounts, there are no annual contribution limits. Not only does this allow you to save more, it is useful for individuals who are near retirement and need to catch up.

The   money you invest may compound year after year without a tax bill. When your accumulation phase has ended and you are ready to begin distributions, you can choose guaranteed payments for a specific length of time or for the rest of your life.  In addition to your contract value at this time, the duration of payments will affect the payment amount with longer payment schedules resulting in lower amounts.

Types of annuities used for retirement include:

  • Fixed Annuity

    A fixed annuity gives you the promise of fixed interest payments over a specified period of time. You agree to deposit a lump sum of money or series of payments and the insurance company agrees to pay you a guaranteed rate of interest that compounds tax-free. 

  • Variable Annuity

    A variable annuity (VA) puts your money in investments that you can select. Most often, those investments are a variety of portfolios providing you with options that may include both stocks and bonds. As an additional benefit, some VAs offer an enhanced death benefit that guarantees your beneficiary won't receive less than your original investment (minus withdrawals) - no matter how the funds perform.  However, all guarantees are dependent upon the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

  • Indexed Annuity

    The indexed annuity is a type of fixed annuity that calculates interest payments based on upward and downward movements in common indexes such as the S&P 500 Index.  You are provided the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of positive upturns in the market (subject to a cap) with a limit to your downside risk. However, you would not be directly invested in the stock market.

  • The combination of tax deferral and the ability to establish guaranteed income can make annuities an effective part of a retirement plan while protecting retirees from the possibility of outliving their income. 

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Variable annuities are long-term investments intended for retirement planning and involve market risk and the possible loss of principal. Investments in variable annuities are subject to fees and charges from the insurance company and the investment managers.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a variable annuity, any optional protected lifetime income benefit and the underlying investment options before investing. This and other information is contained in the prospectus for a variable annuity and its underlying investment options. Investors should read the prospectus carefully before investing. Prospectuses may be obtained by calling PLICO or PLAICO at 888.340.3428.

All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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