As stated in last week’s post, while a fixed index annuity has several unique conservative and desirable investment features, assuming your goal is to create a lifetime retirement paycheck, you need to apply for an optional income rider when your retirement income planner submits your application. As pointed out last week, income riders are currently available with less than 40% of all fixed index annuities.
What exactly do you receive when you purchase an income rider with your fixed index annuity? How does it work? How can it be used as part of a retirement income planning strategy to create a lifetime retirement paycheck?
Before we talk about what you receive when you purchase an income rider with a fixed index annuity, it’s important to understand what you don’t receive. The remainder of this post will begin a two-part discussion devoted to this topic.
In order to understand what you don’t receive when you purchase an income rider with your fixed index annuity, we need to place it in the context of fixed income annuities. A fixed income annuity is the broad class of annuities under which fixed index annuities fall.
One of the unique features that’s associated with a fixed income annuity is the right to annuitize your investment. Per the Glossary, annuitization is defined as the irrevocable structured payout of an annuity with a specified payment beginning at a specified date, paid at specified intervals over a stated period of months or years or for the duration of the annuitant’s and potentially his/her spouse’s and/or other individuals’ lifetime(s) depending upon the payout option selected. That’s a roundabout way of saying that you’re entitled to receive an income stream for a specified length of time.
In addition, when you purchase a fixed income annuity, the timing of commencement of payments can be different, depending upon whether you purchase an immediate or deferred fixed income annuity. With an immediate annuity, payments begin one month after date of purchase. Deferred annuities generally won’t begin making payments for at least 12 months from date of purchase.
Finally, with fixed income annuities, when the income stream as defined by the terms of the annuity contract ends, so does the annuity contract. Unless there’s a refund feature, there’s no accumulation value that’s payable to the annuitant(s) or to his/her beneficiaries.
Now that you have a basic understanding of fixed income annuities, I will continue the discussion regarding what you don’t receive when you purchase an income rider with a fixed index annuity next week when I share with you the unique characteristics of fixed index annuity income riders compared to fixed income annuities in Part 2.