Skip to main content

Higgins Capital Management, Inc.

Retirement Income: Fixed Annuities or Bonds


As investors approach retirement, one of the critical decisions they face is how to generate a reliable stream of income from their accumulated savings. Two common strategies often considered are investing in fixed annuities or directly investing in fixed-income securities through bond funds, bond ETFs, or a portfolio of individual bonds within a retirement account. Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and understanding these nuances is crucial in making an informed decision that aligns with individual financial goals and risk tolerance. 

Fixed Annuities: A Closer Look: A fixed annuity is a contract issued by an insurance company that provides a guaranteed stream of income payments for a specified period or for life. In exchange for an upfront lump sum investment, the annuity issuer promises to make regular payments to the annuity holder, typically on a monthly or annual basis.

Pros of Fixed Annuities:

The pros of fixed annuities: 1 Guaranteed Income; 2 Longevity Risk Protection; 3 Potential for returns; 4 Beneficiary Protection. 

Cons of Fixed Annuities:

Limited Liquidity: Once funds are invested in a fixed annuity, access to the full account value may be restricted or subject to substantial surrender charges if withdrawals are made before a certain period. 

Potentially Lower Capital Gains: Fixed annuities are income investments with little potential for capital gains as might be seen in the stock market.

Lack of Inflation Protection: Traditional fixed annuities typically do not provide built-in inflation protection, meaning that the purchasing power of the income payments may erode over time due to the effects of inflation. 

Limited Flexibility: Once a fixed annuity contract is in place, it can be challenging to make changes or adjustments to the income stream or payout structure. 

The Pros of Bond Funds, ETFs or direct investment in a fixed income portfolio: 1 Diversified portfolios of fixed-income securities; 2 Professional Management; 3 Liquidity; 4 Reinvestment Efficiency. 

Cons of Bond Funds,  ETFs and diversified bond portfolios: 1 No Guaranteed Income Stream; 2 Interest Rate Risk; 3 Credit Risk; : Bond funds, ETFs and diversified bond portfolios are exposed to credit risk; 4 Limited Transparency: While funds disclose their overall holdings, investors may have limited visibility into the specific bonds.

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.

Retirement Income Planning Should You Choose Fixed Annuities, Bond Funds, or Individual Bonds, fixed annuity retirement income planning, guaranteed income stream for retirement, rolling over 401k into fixed annuity, direct bond investing in retirement account, managing interest rate risk in bond investments, retirement income sources guaranteed vs non-guaranteed, mitigating longevity risk in retirement planning, fixed annuity vs bond portfolio income comparison, Guaranteed income, Bond investing, Fixed income, Interest rate risk, Credit risk, Liquidity, Longevity risk, Income stream, Portfolio management, Reinvestment risk, Risk tolerance, Investment horizon