FIAs With Income Riders vs. DIAs:  Which is Right for You? – Part 3 of 5

FIAs With Income Riders vs. DIAs: Which is Right for You? – Part 3 of 5

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I hope that you’re enjoying this series so far comparing two innovative retirement income planning tools – fixed index annuities (“FIAs”) with income riders and deferred income annuities (“DIAs”). Of the 12 features offered by FIAs with income riders that are listed in Part 1, we’ve looked at three features that are also offered by DIAs, and five that aren’t applicable to DIAs.

This post will discuss the remaining four features that are applicable to DIAs on a limited basis. They are as follows:

  1. Known future income amount at time of initial and ongoing investments
  2. Flexible income start date
  3. Greater income amount the longer you defer your income start date
  4. Death benefit

Known Future Income Amount at Time of Initial and Ongoing Investments

One of the really cool things about fixed income annuities from a retirement income planning perspective is the ability to structure a guaranteed (subject to the claims paying ability of individual life insurance companies) income stream to match one’s income needs. In the case of both FIA’s with income riders and DIA’s, the amount of the future income stream is known at the time of initial and ongoing investments.

When you purchase a DIA, a known amount of income, with or without an annual inflation factor, will be paid to you as an annuity beginning at a specified future date for either a specified number of months or for life, either single or joint as applicable. With traditional DIA’s, you make a one-time investment; however, there are a handful of products that offer you the ability to make ongoing investments.

Unlike traditional DIA’s where you generally make a single investment and you receive a specified amount of income beginning at a specified date, FIA’s with income riders have more variations. For one thing, assuming you’re working with a flexible– vs. a single-premium FIA, you have the ability to make ongoing investments in a single FIA. In addition, the income start date, which will be discussed in the next section, is flexible. While the future income amount is known at the time of initial and ongoing investments, both of these variables combine to offer a much broader range of possibilities than a traditional DIA when it comes to the income withdrawal amount.

Flexible Income Start Date

All FIAs with income riders have a flexible income start date with the ability to begin income withdrawals either in the year of purchase or one year from the date of purchase assuming you’ve reached a specified age, generally 50. There’s no requirement with FIA income riders to commit to the income start date at the time of purchase, and, furthermore, you don’t have to ever start taking income withdrawals if you choose not to do so.

Per the previous section, traditional DIAs begin their income payouts at a specified future date. There are some nontraditional DIAs that provide for a flexible income start date similar to FIAs with income riders.

Greater Income Amount the Longer You Defer Your Income Start Date

With all fixed income annuities where the income isn’t payable during the first year, i.e., single premium immediate annuities, or “SPIAs,” the longer you defer your income start date, the greater the amount of income you will receive. This is true whether the income payment is for a fixed term, as it is with some DIAs, or if it’s for life.

FIAs with income riders, with their built-in flexible income start date, include this feature. In order to obtain this benefit with a traditional DIA, you need to choose a later income start date at the time of purchase.

Death Benefit

Income withdrawal is an optional rider with FIAs. The base product has an accumulation value that’s increased by initial and ongoing investments, premium bonuses, and interest credits and is decreased by withdrawals and surrender and income rider charges. To the extent that there’s accumulation value remaining upon the death of the owner(s), it’s paid to the contract’s beneficiaries as a death benefit.

Traditional DIAs may or may not include a death benefit prior to annuitization. Once annuitization occurs, there’s generally no death benefit payable. If you opt for a traditional DIA that includes a death benefit before annuitization, the amount of the benefit will generally be equal to your investment amount; however, the tradeoff will be a reduced income amount than would otherwise be payable by a similar product that doesn’t include a death benefit.

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