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How Can Annuities Help You

April 1st, 2011 Comments off

Annuities are smart investment tools delivering both tax benefits and income growth potential for the big and small investor. In addition, annuities make it simple to create retirement income streams that supplement other retirement accounts. If a potential investor is looking to diversify his or portfolio, decrease taxes, and create immediate or deferred income streams, than purchasing an annuity might be the right type of investment for them to consider.

An annuity is a contract purchased by an investor from an issuing insurance company for a promise of repayment at some later date. They allow for accumulated funds deposited within the investments during the accumulation phase, to grow and defer any taxes on that growth until the investor makes a withdrawal. This “tax free” growth period can have a tremendous positive effect on most investor’s future payouts.

Certainly a favorite among savvy investors, annuities can help the investor grow his retirement funds at a predictable rate while avoiding taxes. Maintaining a stable level of predictability helps to calm the fears of market downswings for all investors who are averse to high risk accounts. There are various types of annuities that exist, with all slight variations that may or may not appeal to each investor, depending on his aversion to risk.

With annuities, the investor can get his funds back when he retires in a percentage that is entirely based on his discretion and on his fluctuating needs from year to year. Variable annuities, for example, allow the investor to place his funds in several mutual fund accounts that may appeal to his level of risk, growth objectives, and retirement needs. Nevertheless, the amount of those return payments ultimately depend on the amount of the initial investments, the type of annuity chosen, the length of time that has passed, and the performance of the market.

A portfolio with several annuity accounts can all have various distribution or pay days that can supplement other investments the investor has made. With the predictable fluctuations in the market, fixed annuities generate the attention of conservative and frugal investors who would like to foresee a steady and dependable rate of return.

Further, the investor can either elect to be paid out all at once in one “lump sum” or in periodic installments for period of time, say 10 to 30 years – or until his or her death. For example, an investor can, at the age of 65, decided that he will withdrawal 6% a year for the next 20 years from his account. The longer the investor waits to make good on those withdraws, the more percentage or amount he would be able to take each month.

They offer a more safe return on their initial investment and are particularly beneficial to those retired or near-retirement, as they have less room for wide market fluctuations. When the stock volatility displays itself, as it often does from time to time, those investors who have place some of their earnings in fixed annuities will maintain a steady stream of income and negate much of the financial losses that traditional stocks may experience. Most investors will find that fixed annuities can play an important role in their retirement goals. They provide delayed or deferred income streams while increasing that growth without the hassle of taxes.

Understanding Fixed Annuities

April 1st, 2011 Comments off

There are a various types of annuities that exist. Fixed annuities are one type that provides a “fixed-rate” of return to the investor, offering greater predictability and a sense of certainty, which is often lacking in other similar investments. An annuity is a financial vehicle and contract that promises to make periodic payments to the investor, for a determined period of time, and is often sold or backed by an insurance company. Annuities which are “fixed” are similar investment instruments to Certificates of Deposits or CDs, which provide specified and predetermined interest rate payments for the life of the annuity.

Often, these annuities can deliver a high rate of return to their owner when compared against the rates of CDs or similar savings vehicles, which makes them appealing to investors, both large and small. With annuities, the investor receives his funds entirely at his discretion and can either elect to be paid out all at once or in installments for a determined period of time. Within “fixed annuities” we find other important subgroups that need consideration when understanding these investment vehicles. Immediate or deferred fixed annuities are viable options here as well. The “immediate” subgroup provides a fixed payout which is established on the actual amount of the initial investment and the age of the investor.

As its name would define, the fixed immediate annuity can be immediately drawn upon, after you purchase this investment and thereby generating an instant income stream. Say for example a 60 year old, just inherited $100,000 from a relative, he or she could begin an immediate fixed annuity that would generate a growing income stream with immediate monthly payments. An Immediate fixed annuity also provides fixed payouts as long as you live or for a specified period of time you choose. With the predictable fluctuations in the market, fixed annuities have garnered the attention of both conservative and frugal investors who prefer a steady rate of return as a way to complement other savings vehicles in their portfolio.

Fixed deferred annuities are dependable “tax shelters” as they defer any federal income tax until an actual withdrawal is made during the payout period. As with any retirement account, it is wise to reconsider any early withdrawals before you retire or before turning 59.5 years of age, as penalties can deliver significant penalty fees. Yet, if you are willing to invest your money until you retire or reinvest your funds while you are in the middle of your retirement years, a fixed deferred annuity can help calm any fears of potential loss when the market is down. The predictability of performance and their ability to protect against taxation make fixed annuities a solid part of anyone retirement income portfolio.

Though risk is always a factor to be considered, fixed annuities are backed by gathering the money from many investors into a pool and delivering payouts from that pool. Due to their structure, they offer safer returns on their initial investment and are particularly beneficial to those retired or near-retirement, as they have less room for wide market fluctuations. When the stock market goes down, as it often does from time to time, those investments in fixed annuities issuers will maintain their obligation and minimize any financial loss in comparison to traditional stocks.

How To Find the Best Fixed Annuities

April 1st, 2011 Comments off

Finding the best fixed annuities does not have to be a challenge for the average investor looking to shore up his income growth. Finding the “best” would need to be determined from the individual needs of the investor. Annuities are contracts between an individual investor and an insurance company who agree to make payments on that investment at a determined period of time.

Finding the “best” fixed annuities are determined by several factors that include the soundness of the insurance company making the payments, the rate of return being offered, and the amount of fees one has to pay. Since annuities are not backed up by the FDIC, it is important for investors to look at the history and health of the insurance company the purchase is made from. A modest due diligence should be done by reading the prospectus of every investment vehicle the investor places his money. A general prospectus can give you a snapshot of the company and where they place their investments.

Despite not being backed by the federal government, investors should remain confident in the soundness of annuities as many states provide investors some assurances of solvency. In addition, if an insurance company were to ever close – for whatever reason, other insurance companies would step in and buy up the contracts, albeit for a lesser amount they are worth. Thus, the individual investor would always need to stay updated on the companies in which the investment is made with. Each annuity issuing company sends out a quarterly or annual prospectus, detailing the current health of the investments.

Fortunately the industry has a way to regulate itself with a market rating. A market rating of A++ is an exceptional company. A rating of A+ is also very good. Rating can be marked for the ability to pay back an annuity after twenty years. Although there is no way to predict how strong a company will do in twenty years, the ratings give a fair indication of what the fundamentals look like. The higher the rating the more stable the annuity provider would be theoretically be.

The best fixed annuities for investors would deliver optimal interest rates over time for the investor. A fixed annuity is often compared to a certificate of deposit, which grows over the life of the investment. The main difference is that with a fixed annuity, the investor does not have to get a 1099 tax form every year to report to Uncle Sam. This can deliver exceptional savings for the investor every year allowing the money to accrue interest completely tax-free until the initial withdraw is made. A fixed annuity, therefore delivers an outstanding way to increase funds without the burden of taxation.

Some fees may be incurred and it thus wise to be aware of any fees, penalties, or charges when making the decision to invest in an annuity. Many investors find that the best annuities are ones that not only deliver a premium percentage of growth but also a way to invest with confidence in a market is guaranteed to experience downturns. However, an investor might also consider that a lower rated company may be willing to pay a bit more, and thereby delivering a greater short term gain for the investor, even if the long term health may be questionable. It is therefore, always important for the investor to consider the long term health of where there money will be held for the long haul.