Annuities can be beneficial for retirees, especially those who plan ahead and want to avoid stock market risks. However, your payout amount can be challenging to calculate, and each person’s circumstances will influence their monthly payment differently. Still, it’s not impossible to estimate your payout from a $2 million annuity. For example, buying such an annuity at age 65 and receiving payments immediately could result in $10,000 monthly distributions for the rest of your life. To maximize payments coming from your portfolio, consider working with a financial advisor.
What Are Annuities?
An annuity is a deal between a customer and a financial company wherein the customer purchases a policy and receives subsequent monthly payments from the company. Annuity payouts occur for at least a year, but you could receive payments for the rest of your life, depending on the contract.
An annuity is like a loan, but in this case, you provide the money to the financial institution. As a result, the company distributes monthly payments plus interest for anywhere from a year to the remainder of your life. Annuity interest rates can change over time, and economic dynamics might influence your annuity’s rate of return.
Annuities can come with stipulations to pay out even if the customer dies soon after acquiring the policy. For example, the contract might hold the condition that if one or both policyholders pass away before 10 years of payments, the annuity will continue paying designated beneficiaries until the 10-year period is satisfied.
Understanding How Annuities Work
Consumers typically use annuities to provide them with a guaranteed retirement income. Let’s explore how an annuity works through an example. With a $2 million annuity, your policy would likely contain the following details:
- You acquire the policy for $2 million.
- You start receiving payments at age 65.
- Payments last for the rest of your life.
The annuity in this example is set to pay you upon reaching the standard retirement age. In addition, lifetime annuities are ideal for retirement since they pay you for the rest of your life, unlike a 10- or a 20-year annuity.
Annuity rates of return vary among companies and annuity products. In addition, your payout term determines what your monthly payout will look like. Because payout amounts will likely differ between a 5-year annuity and a lifetime annuity, your company will adjust payment details accordingly. As a result, reviewing the terms of your contract before signing an agreement is vital.
Standard Types of Annuities
Annuities come in all shapes and sizes, differing in how you fund your policy when it starts paying out, and who benefits from the contract. Here are several standard types of annuities you’ll find on the market:
- Fixed-Term Annuity: Also called a period certain annuity, it pays an unchanging monthly amount for a specific span of time.
- Regular Payment Annuity: Instead of paying for the annuity all at once, you pay for your annuity over time.
- Lump-Sum Annuity: You acquire your annuity through a single transfer of cash.
- Single Life Annuity: Your contract distributes fixed payments until you pass away.
- Variable Annuity: Your monthly payments fluctuate, and you can receive them for a certain period of time or life. Elements laid out in your contract determine the payment amount, such as indexed payments or variable interest rates.
- Joint/Survivor Annuities: The policy sends payments for life. When you pass away, the person specified in the contract (usually a spouse or life partner) receives payments that last for the rest of their life. Payments to the survivor may differ from previous distributions.
- Qualified Employee Annuities: Your employer might purchase an annuity that gives you payments.
- Tax-Sheltered Annuities: If your employer is a tax-exempt organization, it can purchase an annuity on your behalf.
How Much Would a $2 Million Annuity Pay?
Using a fixed income annuity calculator, here’s an example of how much you can expect a $2 million annuity to pay. Let’s say you’re 55 and looking for an annuity that will start paying you in ten years, at age 65. You want the annuity to pay you for 20 years. These conditions will render a monthly payment of $20,107. Plus, if you pass away before 20 years elapses, your named beneficiaries can receive payments until the period ends.
Remember that numerous factors will affect your exact payout. For example, while the average rate of return for annuities is 3% to 4%, your policy will have a specific rate. In addition, the state you reside in and the age at which you purchase the annuity influence payment amounts. Therefore, examples and calculations are approximations at best. Your circumstances and the offers from annuity companies will give you the most accurate figure for annuity payouts.
Calculating the Rate of Return on a Lifetime Annuity
Lifetime annuities often provide lower payments since the repayment period isn’t fixed and could stretch on for several decades. Plus, you could structure your annuity to send you interest payments only, leaving the principal intact and further decreasing your payment.
Let’s say you and your spouse are 65 and looking for a joint-life annuity to begin paying immediately. You invest a lump sum of $2 million, and your beneficiaries won’t receive any kind of death benefit if you both pass away within 10 or 20 years of obtaining the policy. This policy will pay $10,383 per month.
Time of purchase matters for annuities, and planning ahead can reap significant rewards. For example, if you were to purchase the policy above at age 45 and receive payments at 65, your monthly income would jump to $21,088.
Disadvantages of Annuities
Like other financial instruments, annuities have their pitfalls along with their benefits. Annuities are illiquid vehicles, meaning they make your cash inaccessible. Although they provide guaranteed returns (as long as the company you work with stays in business), the money comes to you over time. $2 million is a sizable asset, and you trade access to that sum for monthly payments that can take decades to add up to that amount.
Additionally, other assets give higher rates of return. For example, your annuity could give a 4% return rate for the next 20 years, which is excellent for the industry. However, the S&P 500 has provided a 9.67% return over the last two decades. If the stock market performs similarly for the next twenty years, you could experience more than double the returns by investing in stock indexes instead of annuities. Of course, stocks incur more risk, so your financial circumstances and priorities will dictate which investment makes the most sense.
The Bottom Line
An annuity is a secure way to turn your nest egg into reliable monthly payments that can help you afford retirement. The earlier you purchase an annuity, the higher your monthly payout will be. A $2 million could pay approximately $10,000 to $20,000 monthly, depending on your contract and what age you purchase the policy. However, these are ballpark figures, and your individual payout can vary broadly.
Tips on Buying Annuities
- Someone looking for an annuity might find them desirable because of the stability they bring. However, your approach to retirement might make other investments a better idea. If you’re unsure, it might help to speak with a financial advisor who can work to achieve suitable investments. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Want to calculate an annuity’s rate of return based on your individual situation? You can use this guide to see if an annuity makes sense for you.
- No matter which investments you prefer, planning ahead is crucial. SmartAsset’s free retirement calculator can give you an estimate on how well you’re preparing for retirement.
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