Per Part 1 of this two-part series, 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. As stated last week, this needs to be placed in the context of fixed income annuities. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend that you read last week’s post before continuing with this one.
There are four things that you don’t receive when you purchase an income rider with a fixed index annuity that are associated with fixed income annuities:
- Immediate payments
- Ability to receive payments over a fixed period
- Annuitization tax treatment of nonretirement distributions
The first three things will be addressed in the remainder of this post, with a discussion of annuitization tax treatment of nonretirement distributions deferred to next week.
As explained last week, one of the unique features that’s associated with a fixed income annuity is the right to annuitize, or receive an income stream for a specified length of time from your investment. While you retain the right to annuitize the accumulation value of a fixed index annuity, the determination of income rider payment amounts is a separate calculation, independent of the accumulation value. Although they reduce the accumulation value of the contract, income rider payments are deemed to be withdrawals vs. annuitization of the contract. This is an important distinction when it comes to income tax treatment as you will learn about next week.
With a fixed index annuity income rider, you have flexibility as to when you begin receiving your income so long as you don’t need the income right away. Unlike fixed income annuities, however, where the payments that you receive can be either immediate or deferred, with fixed index annuities, the earliest income starting date generally doesn’t begin until twelve months after the contract’s issue date.
Ability to Receive Payments Over a Fixed Period
Another important difference between a fixed income annuity and the receipt of income payments using an income rider that’s attached to a fixed index annuity is the payment duration. Per Part 1, when you annuitize a fixed income annuity, the payments are made (a) over a stated period of months or years, or (b) for the duration of the insured’s and potentially his/her spouse’s and/or other individuals’ lifetime(s) depending upon the payout option selected. With a fixed index annuity, payments are for life. This is the case even if there’s no accumulation value remaining in the fixed index annuity.