Reality: Orman explains that a variable annuity will only save you on taxes in the short run. Though you do not pay taxes when you buy or sell a mutual fund within the annuity and you do not pay taxes on year-end distributions, there are other tax disadvantages.
Myth: With money you want to invest outside a retirement account, a variable annuity is a great way to invest in the market and not have to worry about taxes every time you buy or sell. Reality: It will not save you taxes in the long run.
Drawbacks of Variable Annuities
A variable annuity's biggest disadvantage is its cost. Variable annuities can charge high fees. These include administrative fees, fees for special features and fund expenses for the mutual funds you invest in. And then there are the sales commissions.
You can lose money in a Variable Annuity.
Variable annuities are investment-based retirement plans. You are investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. If the investment performance is unfavorable, you will lose money.
When Variable Annuities Can Make Sense. Because of the additional costs that annuities tend to incur, experts generally advise against putting these contracts inside an IRA or a 401(k). These plans already offer tax-deferred growth; there's no point in doubling up on this benefit.
Variable annuities have the potential for payments to increase or decrease based on market fluctuations. A senior without a pension can turn to annuities as an alternative source of steady income. You won't risk the investment plummeting in value or owing exorbitant tax fees.
Variable annuities are designed to be long-term investments, to meet retirement and other long-range goals. Variable annuities are not suitable for meeting short-term goals because substantial taxes and insurance company charges may apply if you withdraw your money early.
Many financial advisors suggest age 70 to 75 may be the best time to start an income annuity because it can maximize your payout. A deferred income annuity typically only requires 5 percent to 10 percent of your savings and it begins to pay out later in life.
Nearly half of advisers surveyed by InvestmentNews Research said they will increase use of at least one kind of annuity this year. Twenty percent said they would recommend more VAs and fixed-indexed annuities, while 15% said they would recommend more registered index-linked annuities.
Some of the most popular alternatives to fixed annuities are bonds, certificates of deposit, retirement income funds and dividend-paying stocks. Like fixed annuities, these investments are regarded as relatively low-risk and income-oriented.
Variable annuities usually feature many choices, but returns are often similar to popular ETFs and index funds (8% to 10% annually, on average).
Variable annuities offer many of the same benefits as fixed annuities, including tax-deferred growth and a death benefit. Unlike fixed annuities, however, you control where the value in your contract will be invested.
Financial planners don't like them for the fees involved
Annuities aren't free — you'll pay someone to manage the money put into them. And that work comes with a cost. It's something financial planner John Bovard of Incline Wealth says he cautions clients about.
Fixed Annuities (Lowest Risk)
Fixed annuities are the least risky annuity product out there. In fact, Fixed annuities are one of the safest investment vehicles in a retirement portfolio. When you sign your contract, you're given a guaranteed rate of return, which remains the same no matter what happens in the market.
Don't have sufficient savings to cover premiums.
Buying an annuity could mean laying out $50,000 or more to cover the premium. If purchasing an annuity would drain your liquid savings and put you at risk of having to borrow to pay for unexpected expenses, it may not be worth it.
Annuities in Banks
An alternative arrangement might be to have independent third-parties offer products that the bank doesn't offer (as a way to offer more to customers). By selling an annuity, the bank is able to keep a relationship with the customer and generate some revenue.
Advisers are exploiting the fear of market risk to get people to cash out their 401(k) and reinvest that money into a variable annuity that offers a "guaranteed income option.
The main drawbacks are the long-term contract, loss of control over your investment, low or no interest earned, and high fees. There are also fewer liquidity options with annuities, and you must wait until age 59.5 to withdraw any money from the annuity without penalty.
If you're less than 50 years old, you have time for markets to be volatile, and then you can make up for any type of losses or volatility, etc. If you're less than 50 years old, you should never buy an annuity of any type.
A $50,000 annuity would pay you approximately $219 each month for the rest of your life if you purchased the annuity at age 60 and began taking payments immediately.
a variable annuity guarantees an earnings rate of return. a variable annuity does not guarantee an earnings rate of return. a variable annuity guarantees payments for life.
Remember with the index annuities, if you have an income rider the liquidity is based upon the index option side, and you typically can take out 10% penalty-free. So are annuities safe in a market crash, and does the stock market affect my annuity? Yes, index annuities are safe from a market crash.
Most variable annuities provide a guaranteed death benefit, which means that if the contract has not already been annuitized, the insurance company will make a payment to the named beneficiary upon the death of either the owner or annuitant, depending on the contract.