Sustainable Lifetime Income When You Need It – Part 2 of 2

Sustainable Lifetime Income When You Need It – Part 2 of 2

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Part 1 of this post made the point that if your goal is to receive sustainable lifetime income, in addition to Social Security, fixed income annuities offered by life insurance companies will meet your need. Please read Part 1 to learn about the three types of fixed income annuities, including each one’s income start date.

If you’re seeking total flexibility for your lifetime income start date, then a fixed index annuity (“FIA”) with an optional income rider is your best bet. Unlike single premium immediate annuities (“SPIA’s”) and deferred income annuities (“DIA’s”) where the sole purpose is to provide sustainable income, a FIA can fulfill multiple financial needs, a discussion of which is beyond the scope of this post. When you purchase a FIA, assuming your goal is sustainable lifetime income, you must purchase an optional income rider with an annual income rider fee.

Unlike the start date for SPIA’s and DIA’s which is contractually defined, it is much more flexible with FIA’s. Most FIA income riders, also known as guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (“GMWB”) riders, have two requirements when it comes to the income start date:

  1. You must wait at least one year after the contract is issued, and
  2. You must be at least age 50.

Assuming that you meet both requirements, the age at which you begin taking income withdrawals from a FIA is up to you. Unlike Social Security which has an eight-year window for choosing your income start date, i.e., between age 62 and 70, the start date with FIA’s is open-ended once the two requirements have been met.

Similar to Social Security, the longer you defer your start date, the greater your lifetime income payments will be. Unlike Social Security where your benefit amount will increase 7% – 8% each year that you defer your start date, the amount of increase is defined by the income rider provision of each FIA’s contract. Also, unlike Social Security, the percentage increase is generally significantly greater when you cross five-year milestones, e.g., age 60, 65, 70, 75, etc.

Here’s an example from a recent case for one of my clients who are currently in their early to mid 50’s and have invested approximately $250,000 in a FIA with an income rider. If they begin taking income at the younger spouse’s age 63, they will receive annual lifetime income of $20,479. At age 64, the amount increases 6% to $21,708. If they wait until age 65, it increases 19.3% from their age 64 amount to $25,886.

With a FIA with an income rider, in addition to having the security of receiving sustainable lifetime income, you have the luxury of starting your income when you need it. This is in addition to several other benefits offered by FIA’s, a discussion of which has been presented in various Retirement Income Visions™ posts.

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