Is Deferred Annuity Suitable For Long Term Savings?

A contract with an insurance company to pay either a regular income or a lump sum amount after a certain period or on a specific date in future is termed as Deferred Annuity. Usually, investors use it as a supplement to their retirement income. Immediate annuities are the ones that start paying you right away, but deferred annuities are different in that context.

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They come in varied types like fixed, variable and indexed. According to their type, the computation of rates takes place. In case you want to make withdrawal from deferred annuity plan you will have to pay surrender charges and a tax penalty. This article deals with all the facts that you must know about deferred annuities and how investing in them can benefit you.

Deferred Annuity-Meaning

A deferred annuity designed specifically for long term savings. It is an insurance contract that doesn't start paying you immediately. Investors can indefinitely delay the payments, though, during this time duration, the earnings on it are tax-deferred. You can increase the annuity's value by adding funds to the account. The best part of this investment option is that you can withdraw a lump-sum amount from it whenever needed.

Apart from that, transferring to any other financial institution or withdrawing the annuity is possible. It allows you to easily convert the annuity into a stream of payments at a certain date in future. Over time, you earn interest on the assets that are present in the annuity. However, you need to pay fees or taxes for each option.

The charges you pay to the annuity company are in form of income taxes, surrender charges, withdrawal charges and penalty taxes. An essential aspect of deferred annuities is their annual fees. About 1% of the assets per year, is charged as rider and sub-account management fees. Therefore, before making any decision regarding this investment, you must review all the details with qualified tax professionals. It will help you to make the right and informed decision regarding investment.

What Are Different Types of Deferred Annuities?

Fixed Deferred Annuity

A fixed deferred annuity is similar to a cash deposit. These will provide you with a fixed rate of return on the amount present in your account. The minimum amount that you get is decided in advance. Though the payout can be more than the decided amount, it can't be less than the minimum agreed amount. However, the interest gets deferred till the time you don't make a withdrawal from the contract. If you don't want interest earnings, then these annuities are not the best option.

Variable Deferred Annuity

In a variable deferred annuity, the funds are kept in an investment account, and then according to the risk tolerance, age and other factors, investment is made. In this case, you have limited choice, and it includes stocks as well as bonds. Here you can't expect a fixed return as the return varies according to the assets present in the selected portfolio of mutual funds. Until you withdraw it, this will remain tax-deferred. However, you can expect to get rider options like future income or death benefit from it.

Indexed Deferred annuity

These annuities are also termed equity-indexed annuity. They are a mixture of both fixed and variable deferred annuities. Some investors consider it as a fixed annuity as it provides you assurance of minimum guaranteed return just like fixed annuities. Along with that, you have the option to link your earnings with a return based formula in a particular market index. If you withdraw the funds in the initial years of the contract, you have to pay a surrender charge for that, and the penalty depends on the insurer.

Longevity Annuity

This type of deferred annuity is considered the best among other types of annuities. It acts like lifelong insurance that pays you an amount throughout your life. You can easily spend your retirement savings and secure your future. Till 85 years of age, the taxes on the longevity annuities are deferred. Suppose the holder dies, then the policy automatically passes to the authorized beneficiary.

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How does Deferred Annuity Function?

The growth of three annuities takes place on a tax-deferred basis. If you own a deferred annuity, you pay taxes only when you withdraw, take out a lump sum amount or start getting income from the account. The taxation rate on the annuities' income or withdrawals is just like the ordinary income tax rate.

If you are under the age of 59.5 years and start your withdrawal, you have to pay a tax penalty of 10% on the amount withdrawn. This is an additional penalty apart from the income tax that you already pay on your withdrawals. Though only in the case of longevity annuity, the funds continue to grow tax-deferred until 85 years.

The Accumulation Phase is the saving phase when an investor pays into the annuity. After a point of time, when investors choose to get an income, the payout phase begins. Usually, deferred annuities are designed so that you can receive a fixed income throughout your life and your spouse's life.

Benefits of Investing in Deferred Annuities for Long Term Savings

Annuity means a series of payments. When you invest in a deferred annuity, you can withdraw as much as you need whenever you want, or you can transfer the assets to some other account and meet your requirements. There's no need to convert the amount into a systematic stream of income.

Moreover, it allows you to control the money and open up all the options. Let’s read further to know some of the benefits offered by the deferred annuity plan.

Multiple options of payout

You can choose from different payment options available with your insurance company when you choose to annuitize. There are options to choose the funds that cover your lifetime only or your spouse's life as well, whichever is longer.

Delay in payments

In a deferred annuity plan, the annuity is paid to the individual after the completion of the deferred phase. This means that you need to wait before taking any action on payments of the annuity. In a deferred annuity, you can wait forever to annuitize and start the payment or take out the payment in lump sum whenever you want later.

Ease in Adding Funds to Deferred annuities

Before you annuitize, you go through the accumulation phase. In this phase, you add funds to the account if the tax allows and your insurance company allows you to do so. Sometimes, you can add a lump-sum amount or leave the account without adding anything. However, you must follow all the rules regarding the accumulation phase.

Ease in Withdrawal of Funds from Deferred Annuities

 Once accumulation is over, the payout phase begins. In this phase, you can receive the withdrawals, and if you opt for it after the age of 59.5, you need not pay any penalty charges. You have the option to choose different ways to receive the funds, or simply you can indefinitely defer the annuity. Here are different ways to receive the payments:

  • When you choose to receive the payment in lump-sum, then that is taxable. That means if you want to take out your money all at a time, you need to pay tax on that amount.
  • Systematic withdrawal is another way of receiving the payment. In this method, you can make a periodic withdrawal. Though the withdrawn amount is taxable, the remaining amount earns the interest.
  • The annuitization method will pay out regularly for a period of time until the owner's death or the spouse, whichever is later.

Difference between Tax Deferral and Deferred Annuity

Often investors confuse between tax deferral and deferred annuity. Tax deferral is one of the features of annuities. Generally, you don't pay taxes on the income received in the annuity. You pay tax when the amount is out from the tax-deferred account. You earn more from the benefit of compounding when you keep the amount within a contract and keep reinvesting the earnings and again earn interest on those earnings.

Wrapping it Up!

By reading the above article you can now make an informed choice that you should invest in a Deferred annuity as a long term investment or not. Investing in deferred annuities has both pros and cons. It is suitable for long term investment or not, completely depends on your retirement priorities, risk tolerance and financial goals. Generally, deferred annuities are considered as a safe investment option as they are sold solely by insurance companies in contracts, and strict laws properly regulate them.

Moreover, there is no upper limit in the contribution, unlike other retirement investment accounts. Simultaneously, the charges and fees in the annuities are the biggest drawbacks compared to other retirement investment options. The final decision completely depends on your goals and needs to make the informed decision for securing your future.

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