Annuities are contracts between an individual and an insurance company. In exchange for a lump sum or series of payments, the insurance company guarantees regular disbursements, beginning either immediately or in the future. Annuities can typically be purchased from banks, brokers or insurance companies. Where you want to buy an annuity may depend on what type of annuity you’re buying and how much assurance of long-term stability you may need. You may want to consider working with a financial advisor to see if it’s the right financial decision for you and if so where you should get yours.
Where Can You Buy an Annuity?
The decision on where to buy an annuity is a significant one. It depends on your understanding of the types of annuities available and the reputation of the sellers. Before talking about the various sellers, let’s analyze the type of annuities you might be considering.
- Fixed annuities offer a guaranteed income. For example, Jane decides to purchase a fixed annuity that promises a steady $1,000 per month for life, starting at a specific time.
- Variable annuities are linked to the performance of an investment portfolio. For example, Tom invests in a variable annuity that can fluctuate in payouts depending on the performance of the linked investments in stocks.
- Immediate and deferred annuities start payments immediately or at a later date, respectively. So, Mary buys an immediate annuity to start receiving payouts right away, while Sam prefers a deferred annuity for payouts to begin in 10 years.
Annuities can be purchased through various channels, including banks, brokers and insurance companies. However, online marketplaces have emerged as popular platforms for those looking to buy. These marketplaces offer a variety of annuity products from multiple insurance companies, making it easy to compare and choose the best fit for your financial goals.
How to Determine Where to Buy an Annuity
It doesn’t technically matter where you buy an annuity from, with the exception of the amount of risk you might be taking on. This means that choosing where to buy an annuity should require careful consideration of the seller’s reputation and investment track record.
Resources like rating agencies (A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s) can provide insight into a seller’s financial stability and performance. Customer reviews on platforms like the Better Business Bureau can also offer a glimpse into the seller’s customer service and reliability.
Rather than suggesting one option might be definitively better for certain people, it’s important to remember that each person’s unique financial goals and risk tolerance will influence their choice. You can either seek professional advice or do your own research in deciding where to buy your annuity.
Tips for Buying an Annuity
Buying an annuity on your own can be time-consuming and overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
- Do your research: When buying an annuity, it’s essential to research and compare your options.
- Use a comparison tool: Annuity comparison tools on websites like ImmediateAnnuities.com can provide a comprehensive overview of available products, helping you make an informed decision.
- Seek professional guidance: Consulting with a financial advisor can be invaluable. They can assess your unique financial situation, provide advice on the type of annuity that best fits your goals, guide you through the buying process and help you understand any potential risks and the fine print of the annuity contract.
- Know what type of annuity you’re looking for: Before looking for the right partner you should know what type of annuity you want, which can limit your potential options.
- Ask about fees: Make sure you understand fees early on in the process so that you aren’t surprised once you get down the road. You would hate to have to start over because you find out about fees right before you’re ready to get started.
Moreover, be aware of the risks associated with buying an annuity from the wrong place, such as financial losses due to high fees and the potential for fraud. Always verify the seller’s credentials and understand fully that the annuity contract is a legally binding agreement.
Buying an annuity is a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration and research. Consider reflecting on your financial goals and whether they align with the choice of annuity you’re making. By understanding the types of annuities available, evaluating the sellers and utilizing resources like rating agencies and annuity comparison tools, you can encourage success in your financial future. The best place to buy an annuity is where you can find a product that fits your needs, from a seller you trust.
Tips for Investing
- Deciding the right balance when investing for retirement can be difficult if you don’t have the necessary experience. That’s where the help of a professional, like a financial advisor, can come in handy. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- When making your investment choices, you can see what various portfolio breakdowns might do to your long-term investment prospects with SmartAsset’s free asset allocation calculator.
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