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Higgins Capital Management, Inc.

Annuity Basics – Features and Benefits


Annuities are a financial product that plays a pivotal role in retirement planning and estate management. 

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They offer individuals a way to secure a regular stream of income, often for life, while also providing various financial benefits. This post delves into the intricacies of annuities, exploring their types, uses, and how they compare to life insurance, with the aim of helping you make informed decisions about your financial future.

Understanding Annuities

Annuities are financial contracts typically issued by insurance companies. They function as a reliable tool for securing income, often during retirement. Annuities can serve various purposes, including:

1. Retirement Savings: Annuities can be a means of accumulating funds for retirement. By investing a lump sum or making periodic payments, individuals can grow their money within an annuity.

2. Retirement Income: They offer a guaranteed income stream, which can supplement other retirement income sources, such as Social Security or pensions.

3. Lifetime Income: Annuities provide the unique advantage of ensuring a stream of income for life, which can be critical for financial security during one's retirement years.

Fixed Annuities. Variable Annuities.

Fixed annuities are known for their stability. They provide a fixed interest rate on the invested funds, typically for a set period ranging from one to five years. This interest rate may be adjusted periodically in response to current market conditions. Moreover, fixed annuities come with a guaranteed death benefit, meaning that if you pass away before all the benefits have been paid out, your beneficiaries will receive a predetermined amount.

Variable Annuities

Variable annuities, on the other hand, offer the potential for more substantial returns. They invest your funds in various sub-accounts, which essentially function like mutual funds. This approach allows your investment to grow over time but comes with the risk of potential losses if the market underperforms. Variable annuities also provide a range of riders, which are additional features that can offer benefits like guaranteed income or protection against market volatility.

Life Insurance vs. Annuities

Life insurance and annuities are both financial products but serve distinct purposes:

Life Insurance for Estate Planning

Life insurance policies are commonly used for estate planning. By designating beneficiaries, you ensure they receive a death benefit upon your passing. This benefit can be used for covering funeral expenses, paying estate taxes, or leaving a financial legacy for your loved ones.

Annuities for Estate Distribution

Annuities can also be a valuable tool in estate planning. For instance, you can purchase an annuity with a guaranteed income rider. This rider assures that your beneficiaries will continue to receive a predetermined amount of money each month even after your demise. Additionally, annuities can facilitate the creation of trusts to manage asset distribution according to your wishes.

Choosing the Right Option

Deciding between life insurance and annuities for estate planning depends on your unique circumstances. If your primary concern is providing a death benefit to your loved ones, then life insurance is a suitable choice. However, if you aim to guarantee a stable income source for your beneficiaries, annuities may be the better option.


In conclusion, annuities are versatile financial products offering a range of benefits, including guaranteed income, death benefits, and tax-deferred growth. It's crucial to consult with a financial advisor when considering annuity options to determine which type best aligns with your financial goals.

Additional Considerations

When assessing annuities, these factors deserve careful consideration:

1. Fees: Different annuities come with varying fees, such as surrender charges, administrative fees, and investment fees. A comprehensive understanding of all fees associated with an annuity is vital before making a purchase.

2. Liquidity: Some annuities are more liquid than others, meaning you can withdraw money without incurring penalties. If you anticipate needing access to your funds in the future, opt for a more liquid annuity.

3. Guaranteed Income Rider: If your primary objective is secure income, ensure you choose an annuity with a guaranteed income rider. This feature guarantees a set monthly income, even if the market experiences downturns.

Given the complexity of annuities, a financial advisor can offer essential guidance, helping you comprehend the different annuity types, associated fees, and selecting the most suitable option based on your individual financial circumstances.

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The information contained in this Higgins Capital communication is provided for information purposes and is not a solicitation or offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments in any jurisdiction. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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