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Guardian Annuity Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc. (GIAC) can trace its history all the way back to 1860, when it began doing business under the name Germania Life Insurance Company of America. The company changed to its current name in 1918, along with shifting from a stockholder-owned business to a policyholder-owned one. Aside from annuities, GIAC also sells life insurance, disability income insurance, personal dental insurance and more.

Have questions about which annuity product is best suited for your financial situation? Consider discussing it with a financial advisor in your area.

Annuity Fees Annuity Type Minimum Initial Premium More Information
Guardian Investor ProFreedom Variable Annuity B Share Find an Advisor

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  • 0.75% annual combined administrative, mortality and expense risk fee
  • Fund fees ranging from 0.51% - 7.47%
  • Various rider charges
Variable annuity $10,000

Annuity Type

Variable annuity

Minimum Initial Premium

Guardian Fixed Target Annuity Find an Advisor

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  • No annual contract fees
Fixed annuity $5,000

Annuity Type

Fixed annuity

Minimum Initial Premium

Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity III Find an Advisor

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  • No annual contract fees
Immediate annuity $10,000

Annuity Type

Immediate annuity

Minimum Initial Premium


Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company holds fantastic financial strength ratings from some of the top ratings companies. Moody’s has it at an Aa2 (Excellent), A.M. Best has it at an A++ (Superior), Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has it at an AA+ (Very Strong), Fitch has it at an AA+ (Very Strong) and COMDEX has it at a score of 99 out of 100.

Guardian Investor ProFreedom Variable Annuity B Share

To get in on the Guardian Investor ProFreedom Variable Annuity B Share, you’ll need at least $10,000 ready to invest. Once your account is open and active, Guardian will allow you to invest in the investment fund of your choice. In fact, the company has made more than 50 variable funds available that use investment strategies that range from passive management to equity- and bond-based portfolios and more.

The death benefit for this annuity affords your beneficiaries the accumulation value of your contract. For reference, this value is what ultimately decides how much your eventual payments will be. Guardian also provides extra death benefit riders for a fee. These include options that guarantee a payout of your premium, a payout based on your contract’s highest anniversary value and more.


Variable annuities usually come with high fees, with administrative and mortality and expense risk charges being among the highest. With the Guardian Investor ProFreedom Variable Annuity B Share, you’ll pay 0.75% annually to cover these fees. There are also management and 12b-1 fees associated with the investment funds available through a variable annuity. With Guardian, these fees can range anywhere from 0.51% to 7.47%.

If you decide to add on benefit riders to your contract, you’ll also pay a charge. These fees are as follows:

  • Highest anniversary value death benefit rider: 0.35%
  • Return of premium death benefit rider: 0.25%
  • Return of premium plus death benefit rider: 0.45%
  • Combination of death benefit riders: 0.50%

Guardian does not charge for early withdrawals from this annuity contract. However, if you decide to withdraw before age 59.5, the IRS will likely charge you a 10% income tax penalty, on top of your standard income tax rate.

Realistic Return Expectations

There are a plethora of investment funds you can include in your Guardian Investor ProFreedom Variable Annuity B Share contract. Because of this, it's essentially impossible to predict what kinds of returns you could earn as an annuitant.

Guardian Fixed Target Annuity

The Guardian Fixed Target Annuity can be easily personalized to fit your personal needs. More specifically, Guardian offers eight guaranteed interest periods that last anywhere from three to ten years. Generally speaking, the longer the term you go with, the better the rate your contract will be afforded.

Once your initial interest period ends, Guardian lets you renew for either three to ten years. At the end of your initial period, you can also go with a one-year guaranteed interest period. If you choose the latter, you’ll receive a new interest rate every year, but gain increased liquidity and flexibility.

The maximum issue age for this contract is 85 and the minimum initial premium is $5,000.


You won’t need to worry about paying annual fees with the Guardian Fixed Target Annuity. However, this contract does use a rather complex withdrawal fee schedule should you take out more than 10% of your contract value over a single year. The below tables shows what you’ll pay if you withdraw too much during your contract’s initial purchase period.

Withdrawal Fees During Initial Purchase Period
Term Length Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7
3 Years 7% 7% 7%        
4 Years 7% 7% 7% 6%      
5 Years 7% 7% 7% 6% 5%    
6 Years 7% 7% 7% 6% 5% 4%  
7, 8, 9 & 10 Years 7% 7% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3%

If you decide to renew your contract for another purchase period and you surpass the 10% free withdrawal limit, the fees below will apply:

Withdrawal Fees Upon Purchase Period Renewal
Term Length Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7
3 Years 6% 6% 6%        
4 Years 6% 6% 6% 5%      
5 Years 6% 6% 6% 5% 4%    
6 Years 6% 6% 6% 5% 4% 3%  
7, 8, 9 & 10 Years 6% 6% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2%

Remember that withdrawing funds from your annuity before you turn 59.5 will result in a 10% tax penalty on top of the standard income tax.

Realistic Return Expectations

Guardian’s Fixed Target Annuity offers variable returns depending on the specifics of your financial situation. These factors include how much you decide to invest, the length of the purchase period you select and how your chosen investments perform.

Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity III

If an immediate annuity fits your needs better, the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity III lets you decide between monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments and either of the following:

  • Life annuity without guaranteed period: Payments last for the annuitant’s life. If designated as a joint life contract, payments will continue until the last surviving joint annuitant passes away.
  • Life annuity with guaranteed period: Not only will payments endure for the annuitant’s life, but a 5- to 30-year guaranteed period can be chosen. If the annuitant dies before the guaranteed period ends, then the beneficiary will receive payments for its remainder.

The maximum issue age for this contract varies based on the income style you choose. With "life annuity without guaranteed period," the maximum issue age is 85. With all other options, the maximum issue age is 90. The minimum initial premium is $10,000.


Guaranteed Income Annuity III from Guardian is devoid of all annual contract fees, which is common for immediate annuities.

While it’s not a fee charged by Guardian, don’t forget that the IRS imposes income taxes on your withdrawals - and they’ll tack on an extra 10% tax penalty if you withdraw before hitting age 59.5.

Realistic Return Expectations

Immediate annuity contracts are built to provide reliable income for annuitants. As you might expect from a product that prioritizes income rather than growth, returns are usually fairly minimal. Of course, depending on how long you live and which income option you select, you might wind up receiving more in income than you put into the annuity.

Retirement Income Tips

  • A financial advisor can be a big help in choosing annuities and figuring out how they fit into your retirement income plan. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • When you’re planning out what your income will look like in retirement, don’t forget to take into account Social Security payments. If you don’t know what you’re in line to receive from Uncle Sam, check out our Social Security calculator.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Best Places for Small Business Owners

SmartAsset analyzed data to find the best places for small business owners in the country. This interactive map shows the best counties for small business owners in the U.S. and in each state. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any county to learn about that region's small business statistics.

Rank County Small Business Returns Small Business Income Income Taxes

Methodology Which places are best for small businesses owners? To answer this question, we considered three factors: the proportion of people in a county with small business income, how much business income those people reported and the amount of tax a potential resident must pay on their income.

To determine how attractive a region is for small business owners, we compared the number of tax returns that report small business income compared to the total tax-filing population of the region. Next, we compared the total amount of small business income to the overall amount of income reported in each region.

Small businesses are typically incorporated as pass-through entities, meaning that the business owners pay income taxes on the company profits rather than the company itself paying income tax. Because of this, income taxes can play a major role in determining the financial success of a given small business. To determine income tax burdens across counties, we used the national median household income. We then applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for each location.

These three factors were then indexed and equally weighted to yield our small business index. Places with the highest small business index are the places which ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), US Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey, Government Sources, SmartAsset