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.
Annuities: Annuity commissions are generally built into the price of the contract. Commissions usually range anywhere from 1% to 10% of the entire contract amount, depending on the type of annuity. For example, fixed-indexed annuities generally earn advisors a 4% commission.
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.
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.
Reasons Why Annuities Make Poor Investment Choices
Annuities are long-term contracts with penalties if cashed in too early. Income annuities require you to lose control over your investment. Some annuities earn little to no interest. Guaranteed income can not keep up with inflation in certain types of annuities.
The commissions can be anywhere from 1 to 10 percent of the total value of your contract, depending on the annuity type. The more complex the annuity, the higher the commission. And the simpler and more straightforward the contract, the lower the commission.
In general, annuities provide safety, long-term growth and income. You can manage how much income and how much risk you're comfortable with. Annuities are a way to save your money tax deferred until you are ready to receive retirement income. They're often insurance against outliving your retirement savings.
Typically you should consider an annuity only after you have maxed out other tax-advantaged retirement investment vehicles, such as 401(k) plans and IRAs. If you have additional money to set aside for retirement, an annuity's tax-free growth may make sense - especially if you are in a high-income tax bracket today.
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.
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.
By contrast, an annuity manages the risk of longevity; you won't ever run out of money. But the income from such products will not keep pace with inflation, unless of course, you purchase an inflation rider.
Is an Annuity a Good Investment? Annuities are a good investment for people wanting a reliable income stream during retirement. Annuities are insurance products, not an equity investment with high growth. This makes annuities a good balance to a financial portfolio for someone near or in retirement.
Suze: I'm not a fan of index annuities. These financial instruments, which are sold by insurance companies, are typically held for a set number of years and pay out based on the performance of an index like the S&P 500.
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.
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.
Scamming. If your financial adviser tells you of an investment that offers you a high return with low risk, and you instead notice your returns are staying pretty consistent, your investment could be tied into a Ponzi scheme, which generates returns for former investors by using the funds from newer investors.
But if you're retired or near retirement and you want a guaranteed income stream for a portion of your retirement portfolio, some financial advisors say you should consider buying an annuity. Still, Cortazzo recommends putting no more than 25 to 30 percent of your portfolio into an annuity.
Annuities are costly. The majority of simple, immediate annuities and deferred-income annuities have upfront commissions ranging from 1% to 4%. More complicated products, such as variable and fixed index annuities, may have 7% or more upfront commissions.
Higher annuity payouts
The average payouts from an immediate annuity increased by more than 11% for men and 13% for women since the beginning of 2022, according to CANNEX Financial Exchanges Limited. (The data is based on a 70-year-old man and 65-year-old woman who buy an immediate annuity with a $100,000 lump sum.
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.
However, according to one survey, a relatively low percentage of retirees — fewer than 15% — make annuity payments part of their retirement income plans.
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 can provide a reliable income stream in retirement, but if you die too soon, you may not get your money's worth. Annuities often have high fees compared to mutual funds and other investments. You can customize an annuity to fit your needs, but you'll usually have to pay more or accept a lower monthly income.