Annuities 101

Three reasons people choose annuities

An annuity is simply a contract between you and an insurance company where you contribute money upfront, then receive payments over a period of time. You can receive those payments a variety of ways, including an income stream that lasts your whole life. There are three main reasons that people decide to include annuities as part of their protected income:

  1. Annuities are tax deferred
    Like other investments, there are no taxes on an annuity until you begin taking income payments. But unlike with other tax-deferred accounts, there is typically no annual contribution limit for an annuity. That’s especially helpful to people close to retirement age who need to catch up on their retirement investments. Consult with a tax professional as each person’s tax situation is different.

  2. No risk of losing value
    If you select a fixed-rate annuity, the insurance company agrees to pay you a predetermined — or “fixed” — return over a specific period of time. So, even if markets decline, your annuity income remains rock steady.

  3. Income for life
    One of the most daunting questions people ask about retirement is “Will I have enough money to last throughout life?” Fortunately, annuities can provide protected income every month for as long as you live, even if that amount exceeds what you invested in the annuity.

How it works

You can purchase an annuity with various sources, such as:

  • A 401(k) plan
  • An IRA
  • A savings account
  • An inheritance
  • The sale of a home

The payments you receive may be based on the type of annuity and the amount you invest, for example:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • The income option you select
  • The value of the annuity when you start taking income

Is an annuity right for me?

Annuities aren’t right for everyone. Talk to a financial professional to see if an annuity is right for you. They can be a valuable part of a diversified portfolio, especially if you want to lock in protected lifetime income to help cover your essential monthly necessities. But how can you tell? Well, an annuity might be a good choice for you if:

  • You find that Social Security won’t be enough to cover your essential expenses.
  • You expect to live a long time and could potentially outlive your savings.
  • You want to reduce risk and protect part of your portfolio.

The extent to which Protected Lifetime Income is guaranteed will depend upon the claims-paying ability of the insurer that issues the annuity.

Product guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Annuities are long- term products designed for retirement purposes. Partial withdrawals reduce the cash value and certain benefits, such as the death benefit amount. Early withdrawals may be subject to withdrawal charges. Earnings, when withdrawn, are subject to federal and/or state income tax, including a 10% tax penalty for withdrawals before age 59½.

Some income guarantees offered with annuities take the form of optional riders and carry charges in addition to the fees and charges associated with annuity products.

There is no guarantee that any investment will achieve its objectives, generate positive returns, or avoid losses. Investments in annuity contracts may not be suitable for all investors.

Northern Lights Distributors, LLC, a FINRA/SIPC member, has been retained to facilitate FINRA review of the material in order to meet certain requirements of its business partners. Northern Lights Distributors, LLC is not affiliated with The Alliance for Lifetime Income.

AIG is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Lifetime Income.