Annuities are financial products that have features of insurance policies and investment funds. Many of them are life insurance policies that provide fixed payments throughout life, payments for a period of time or one lump sum payment. In the United States, only insurance companies are allowed to sell these investment products. Individuals can, however, avoid high tax payments by naming a nonprofit organization as the beneficiary in their estates.
Some life insurance annuities have fixed interest rates. When a person buys these policies early in life, he or she can use the payments to help pay for retirement. Other plans, however, have variable rates. Variable rates usually have connections to mutual funds, stocks, and securities. If the associated investments increase in value, then the variables also produce premium yields. The opportunity to earn higher returns, however, comes with the risk of earning less supplemental income because the stock market index performs poorly.
Over time, annuities can accumulate equity that allows owners to cash in their value for an immediate payment. This usually means losing a percentage of the deferred payments, but offers a useful solution to financial problems when other alternatives do not exist.
Before purchasing annuities, you should request quotes from several insurance providers. Make sure to compare the benefits that they offer as well as the prices. This will help you choose an annuity that will provide you with the money that you need to pay for your retirement without spending a lot of money in exchange for that security.
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