There are certain questions you will want to ask yourself and discuss with your Financial Planner so you are clear on the advantages and disadvantages of Variable Annuities based on your investment goals and risk tolerance.
Are you already retired and looking for a consistent income stream or are you saving for your retirement? Basically, do you need the money now or in the future?
There are often hefty surrender fees if you withdraw your funds early, so be sure you are clear as to when the funds will be available. If it is your intent to leave the annuity to a family member or members, you will want to inquire about death benefit riders.
With certain variable annuities you may be charged yearly fees. There may also be upfront fees that the insurance company will charge.
Be sure to discuss this in detail with your financial planner and compare products to find the right balance of costs and benefits for your particular needs.
If you are currently nearing retirement age or haven't invested enough in your retirement plans to provide yourself with sufficient income, you may want to ask about Immediate annuities to ensure you receive an immediate, steady retirement income to help supplement your social security and any other investment payments.
If you are under 45 years old or perhaps you've maxed out your 401(k) and your IRA or simply do not need access to the funds for 5-10 years you may want to ask about deferred annuities.
A deferred annuity's value accumulates tax-deferred over time. The typical waiting periods for deferred annuities is in the range of 5 to 10 years. The main draw of a deferred annuity is the ability to defer taxes during that period. While both immediate and deferred annuities are tax-deferred, you're are going to get the most out of the tax benefit with time.
If you find yourself in a circumstance where you may need the money for an emergency, often a waiver is used. Say you have to go into a nursing home, many annuities will waive the surrender fee if you need the money for a situation like this.
Again, before you buy any annuity, you will want to work with your financial planner to know exactly the types of waivers are available with each product.
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