In economic uncertainty, finding answers that provide both savings and an income during retirement becomes challenging. While you try to recover from a downturn, so are companies. And history speaks for itself: employee retirement programs are usually the first cut. This was seen after the Great Recession when corporations across the U.S. reduced and eliminated 401(k) matches. More recently, with the Covid-19 crisis, some companies have begun reducing retirement programs and other employee benefits to aid in recovering from the crisis.
Since retirement is up to the employee, you want something that will withstand the market fluctuations, lower risk, and provide a promised regular income: annuities. As an insurance product, annuities are either done with a single, lump sum payment or recurring premiums that will grow and provide retirement savings and income stream.
Overview of Annuity Types
Variable annuities often yield higher returns because they are directly tied to the consumer’s investment choices. However, they can be decrease in value when the market experiences a downturn. No guarantee is offered with interest or principal protection with these annuities.
Fixed annuities accrue interest off a fixed interest rate set at the beginning of the contract. These are written in stone for a set number of years, meaning they cannot decrease in value for that time. Thus, these annuities offer some protection guarantee, have low yields, and offer low risk.
Fixed indexed annuities are a middle ground of the other two annuities. Based on the performance of a specific index, they provide guaranteed principal protection. Risk is medium with this annuity and has a capped yield that becomes part of the annuity income stream.
Ways Annuities Lower Risk in Retirement
Lifetime income – After accumulation, income payments can be received as either a lump sum, an installment payment for a set number of years, or lifetime payments depending on the rider. This may come with a fee, but some riders have no fee associated.
Tax-deferred – As long as funds remain in the annuity, your savings will remain protected from the yearly taxation on interest. As a chance to earn interest on interest, principal, and on taxes deferred, you get ahead on retirement assets that is not typically available with other retirement accounts.
Principal protection – Protecting your hard-earned money will help reduce retirement risks you will face. With fixed and fixed indexed annuities, your principal investment is protected with the chance to grow and become a stable income stream for retirement.
Growth – Annuities offer a flexibility for growth that may be capped or have a participation rate. These are linked specifically to market indexes. A variable annuity has the potential for a high growth rate, but fixed or fixed indexed annuities allow for participation but less risk.
For more information on how annuities can reduce and eliminate risk in your retirement, please listen to The Retirement Risk Show episode, “The Crossroads of Longevity and Volatility: How Annuities Help.”