Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. 2019 From A Fourth Turning Perspective - James_Quinn
2.Beware the Young Stocks Bear Market! - Zeal_LLC
3.Safe Havens are Surging. What this Means for Stocks 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
4.Most Popular Financial Markets Analysis of 2018 - Trump and BrExit Chaos Dominate - Nadeem_Walayat
5.January 2019 Financial Markets Analysis and Forecasts - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Silver Price Trend Analysis 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Why 90% of Traders Lose - Nadeem_Walayat
8.What to do With Your Money in a Stocks Bear Market - Stephen_McBride
9.Stock Market What to Expect in the First 3~5 Months of 2019 - Chris_Vermeulen
10.China, Global Economy has Tipped over: The Surging Dollar and the Rallying Yen - FXCOT
Last 7 days
After 8 Terrific Weeks for Stocks, What’s Next? - 16th Feb 19
My Favorite Real Estate Strategies: Rent to Live, Buy to Rent - 16th Feb 19
Schumer & Sanders Want One Thing: Your Money - 16th Feb 19
What Could Happen When the Stock Markets Correct Next - 16th Feb 19
Bitcoin Your Best Opportunity Outside of Stocks - 16th Feb 19
Olympus TG-5 Tough Camera Under SEA Water Test - 16th Feb 19
"Mi Amigo" Sheffield Bomber Crash Memorial Site Fly-past on 22nd February 2019 VR360 - 16th Feb 19
Plunging Inventories have Zinc Bulls Ready to Run - 15th Feb 19
Gold Stocks Mega Mergers Are Bad for Shareholders - 15th Feb 19
Retail Sales Crash! It’s 2008 All Over Again for Stock Market and Economy! - 15th Feb 19
Is Gold Market 2019 Like 2016? - 15th Feb 19
Virgin Media's Increasingly Unreliable Broadband Service - 15th Feb 19
2019 Starting to Shine But is it a Long Con for Stock Investors? - 15th Feb 19
Gold is on the Verge of a Bull-run and Here's Why - 15th Feb 19
Will Stock Market 2019 be like 1999? - 14th Feb 19
3 Charts That Scream “Don’t Buy Stocks” - 14th Feb 19
Capitalism Isn’t Bad, It’s Just Broken - 14th Feb 19
How To Find High-Yield Dividend Stocks That Are Safe - 14th Feb 19
Strategy Session - How This Stocks Bear Market Fits in With Markets of the Past - 14th Feb 19
Marijuana Stocks Ready for Another Massive Rally? - 14th Feb 19
Wage Day Advance And Why There is No Shame About It - 14th Feb 19
Will 2019 be the Year of the Big Breakout for Gold? - 13th Feb 19
Earth Overshoot Day Illustrates We are the Lemmings - 13th Feb 19
A Stock Market Rally With No Pullbacks. What’s Next for Stocks - 13th Feb 19
Where Is Gold’s Rally in Response to USD Weakness? - 13th Feb 19
US Tech Stock Sector Setting Up for A Momentum Breakout Move - 12th Feb 19
Key Support Levels for Gold Miners & Gold Juniors - 12th Feb 19
Socialist “Green New Deal” Points the Way to Hyperinflation - 12th Feb 19
Trump’s Quest to Undermine Multilateral Development Banks - 12th Feb 19
Sheffield B17 US Bomber Crash 75th Anniversary Fly-past on 22nd February 2019 Full Details - 12th Feb 19
The 2 Rules For Successful Trading - 12th Feb 19 -
Financial Sector Calls Gold ‘Shiny Poo.’ Are They Worried? - 11th Feb 19
Stocks Bouncing, but Will They Resume the Uptrend? - 11th Feb 19
EURO Crisis Set to Intensify: US Dollar Breakout Higher
Stock Market Correction Starting? - 10th Feb 19
Gold Stocks Gather Steam - 10th Feb 19
Are Gold Bulls Naively Optimistic? - 9th Feb 19
Gold, Silver Precious Metals Update - 9th Feb 19
The Wealthy Should Prepare to Be Soaked - 8th Feb 19
US Business Confidence Is Starting to Crack - 8th Feb 19
Top Myths and Facts about ULIP Plans - 8th Feb 19
A Major Stocks Bear Market in 2020? - 8th Feb 19
Gold Market Extremes Test Your Mettle - 8th Feb 19
The Venezuela Myth Keeping Us From Transforming Our Economy - 8th Feb 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Real Secret for Successful Trading

Need-to-Know Tips for Buying Annuities… And Knowing When They’re Not For You

Personal_Finance / Pensions & Retirement Jul 31, 2014 - 09:46 PM GMT

By: Don_Miller

Personal_Finance

You're probably something of an expert in your own field—and that field probably isn't insurance or annuities. How, then, can you work through the minefield of clauses, guarantees, and pages of small print? Here are nine ways to start.

While you may feel uncomfortable doing this, you're the one putting down thousands of dollars, and you have every right demand this. Remember: caveat emptor! It's the buyer who must beware; you must protect yourself. Ultimately, the language in the annuity contract is what matters, but it doesn’t hurt to memorialize your verbal agreement with the agent in writing.


Hopefully your agent is totally honest and will help write the agreement, and both parties can sign and date it. If the agent starts to waffle, trust your instincts.

  • Tip No. 1 – Buy an annuity only for the contractual guarantee. You're only guaranteed what's written into the contract. The language must be simple to understand. If you don't understand it, don't sign it.

    For example, one contract I've seen said: "If I paid them a $100,000 premium, the annuity would pay me $587.97 for the rest of my life. Furthermore, if I did not receive my $100,000 in payouts, my total payments would be subtracted from $100,000, and the difference would be paid to my beneficiaries."

    The language was plain, simple, and easy to understand. There were no "if the investment does well" or "maybe" and "depending on" clauses in this deal.
  • Tip No. 2 – Protect yourself against default by the insurer. At a minimum, the insurance company should be A rated or higher by all rating agencies. In addition, many states have a fund that insures annuities up to a certain point. If your state has a $100,000 per policy limit, and you wanted to spend $200,000 on annuities, you're better off with two separate $100,000 policies. While annuities seem low risk, many people who had annuities written by AIG were quite concerned when the company went under.
  • Tip No. 3 – Demand full disclosure of fees. Many variable annuities can have management fees as high as 3%, but the fees are often hidden. There is, however, a simple way to make them very clear. Insurance agents often have a program that can project the yield from the variable component of the annuity based on any number that they put in. Ask the agent to run the projection at 0%.

    In many cases you will find they have built fees into the system; they want to charge you to manage your money even if it's held in cash. When the projection is set at 0%, you can see how much smaller your funds are getting as a result of the fees. If the agent will not or cannot run the numbers at zero, then you have good cause for concern.

    And remember, if you're interested in investing, there are cheaper ways to go about it than paying a middleman at an insurance company.
  • Tip No. 4 – Avoid a "captive" agent. Instead of buying directly from the insurance company (a captive agent) consider dealing with a general agent who represents several companies. The agent can shop prices and coverage and get the best package to suit your needs.

    If you are dealing with a captive agent, then you might consider talking with several agents and getting quotes from them. Make sure the comparisons are apples to apples, assessing like features of each company. Avoiding captive agents won't guarantee you an agent with your best interests in mind, but it sure does improve the odds.
  • Tip No. 5 – Consider taxes. While no one I know enjoys paying taxes, keep them in perspective. The right product with a safe company should be the first issue you deal with. However, the tax structure for each product is slightly different. The agent should be able to easily show you your liability per payment.
  • Tip No. 6 – If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is. You may have heard of annuities offering great yields – well above what you could expect to earn in the current market. Much like credit cards offering big rebates, when you read the small print, you are likely to find it's only for a short period of time or there's some other limit on it. Don't get caught up in the hype. The better it sounds, the more due diligence you should do.
  • Tip No. 7 – Get the agent to sign on his promises. When both parties finally come to agreement, you (the party writing the check) should look at the other person and say something to the effect of: "To protect both of us, let's agree upon what we agreed upon." Write the date and the names of the parties, and then start numbering the points. For example:
    • Agent Mr. Smith says the fees are 0.5%, and there are no other hidden fees in the product.
    • While there is a variable component in this annuity, I am guaranteed a minimum of 5% yield on my investment.
    • The variable portion of this policy is indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
  • Tip No. 8 – Demand a quote for a single premium immediate lifetime annuity with a death benefit, and compare it to the other options. The monthly income for the single premium life annuity should be your base number, as it’s one of the simplest annuities out there. As the agent starts to add "smoke and mirrors" to the equation with additional features, compare the payout to your original single premium immediate lifetime annuity.
  • Tip No. 9 – Compare one annuity feature at a time. Don't let the agent bamboozle you with multiple new features at once. If he wants to sell you an inflation rider, a death benefit, and a ramp-up period, don't compare this annuity to the basic one.

    Instead, ask for a quote with just the inflation rider feature. Compare it to your basic single premium annuity. Then, tell him to give you a quote for an annuity with just the death benefit feature. Once again, compare it to your basic annuity and evaluate the difference. This way, you can tell how much each component costs. The agent won't be able to bundle a bunch of features to confuse you.

The Miller’s Money Forever team and I want to un-complicate annuities. The topic is filled with exceptions and complications, and this short list can't cover every piece of minutia in an annuity contract. However, anyone who owns an annuity and anyone who's ever considered buying one should read our comprehensive special report, The Ultimate Annuity Guide. It's one of the only resources out there written by financial educators who do NOT sell insurance or annuities, and it's chalked full of vital information written in easy-to-understand language. Download your copy of The Ultimate Annuity Guide today.

The article 9 Need-to-Know Tips for Buying Annuities… And Knowing When They’re Not For You was originally published at millersmoney.com.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules