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Enhance Retirement Stability with Protected Lifetime Income

All too often, clients have depleted their retirement savings accounts to pay for living expenses or college tuitions. With the ongoing and growing retirement wave in America, it has never been more important than it is right now to ensure clients understand the benefits of having a solid income strategy for when they step into their post-career life.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand their options when it comes to dependable income. And one of the least understood options out there is the annuity. Here are a few simple facts about annuities and lifetime income solutions that can play an important role in post-retirement income plans:

  1. How long is “a lifetime”?

Many Americans are approaching their retirement without a plan to receive sufficient income after their work paycheck stops coming. But how long can savings last? It’s important to take a holistic view of retirement objectives to determine if retirement assets can sustain future expenses.

For instance, some retirees opt to rely on Social Security or pension plans, but there’s no magic switch to hit after you retire that looks across our investments and shoots you a generous and never-ending stream of income each week or month. Even the best retirement saver may need a retirement income plan that can deliver the confidence they’ll never outlive their savings.

  1. Understand the options

When planning and saving for retirement, many people utilize the alphabet soup of retirement accounts – 401(k)s, SEPs, and IRAs – but do not often discuss annuities because they can be confusing. Here are some basic concepts: 

  • An annuity is a contract between a client and an insurance company.
  • Annuities can be tax-deferred, meaning that income taxes are not paid until withdrawals are made from the account.
  • Tax-deferred annuities have two phases: an accumulation phase and a distribution phase. During the accumulation phase, they contribute either in a single lump-sum payment or through ongoing premium payments, and those investments have the potential to grow in the account tax-deferred. In the distribution phase, they start withdrawing income, which then becomes taxable based on the earnings realized during the accumulation phase.

Depending on objectives and risk tolerance, there are other types of annuities to consider:

  • Fixed annuities are insurance products that offer a guaranteed rate of return for a specified period, and the amount of the guaranteed payout depends on the amount paid in during the accumulation phase. Guarantees are based by the claims paying ability of the issuing company.
  • Variable annuities are long-term investment products designed for retirement purposes and are subject to market fluctuation, investment risk and possible loss of principal. Variable annuities contain both investment and insurance components and have fees and charges, including mortality and expense, administrative and advisory fees. Optional features are available for an additional charge.

Fixed and variable annuities are subject to early withdrawal penalties and income taxes upon distribution and surrender charges if not held until the surrender charges are eliminated. Variable annuities can offer tax deferral, lifetime income and death benefits, as well as riders that may be available at an additional cost. Variable products are sold by prospectuses, which contain the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the variable product and its underlying investment options. Read carefully before investing.

  1. Enhance what you’ve already built.

Headlines have screamed for years that Americans are unprepared for retirement, but the focus has primarily been on savings. For disciplined clients who have already taken the steps to save and are more focused on a sound income strategy, annuities can be an important component of their plan. And while investments may grow or lessen with the markets, annuities can provide a dependable income stream.

If you are interested in learning more about how adding a lifetime income stream can impact your retirement plans, consult a financial [advisor/planner/professional] for more information. Your financial [advisor/planner/professional] can also evaluate your retirement readiness and provide a strategy for navigating your retirement.