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Thrivent Financial Annuities 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.

Based in Minneapolis, Thrivent Financial is a fraternal benefit society for Christians. To buy its annuities, you have to be a member or a member’s spouse. The society was started by Lutherans, but now accepts Christians of other denominations. You just have to believe in the Apostle’s Creed and commit to living your faith.

When you become a member, you have access to Thrivent Financial’s life insurance, disability income insurance, long-term care insurance and Medicare supplemental insurance, as well as annuities. The organization also offers financial planning services through its investment management firm and operates a credit union. In existence since 2002, the mutual benefit society formed when two Lutheran organizations from the turn of the 20th century merged. Thrivent opened membership to non-Lutheran Christians in 2014.

The organization used to sell several types of annuities, but it now appears to sell only variable annuities. Of course, of all the annuities, the variable kind is the most complex. A financial advisor can help you make sense of it all - and find the best annuity for your retirement income needs. 

Annuity Fees Annuity Type Minimum Initial Premium More Information
Thrivent Financial Flexible Premium Deferred Variable Annuity Find an Advisor

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  • $30 annual administrative charge
  • 1.15% - 1.25% mortality and expense risk charge
  • Portfolio operating expenses: from 0.24% to 3.90%
  • Various rider fees
Variable annuity $5,000

Annuity Type

Variable annuity

Minimum Initial Premium


An annuity’s guarantees are only as good as its provider’s financial outlook is strong. Thrivent Financial’s rating for financial strength from A.M. Best is an A++ (on a scale from A++ to F). Fitch gave the insurance company an AA+ (on a scale from AAA to D).

Thrivent Financial Flexible Premium Deferred Variable Annuity

Thrivent’s only annuity that’s currently available for purchase is a deferred variable annuity. It is meant for people who are still saving and growing their nest egg (as opposed to retirees who want to turn their nest egg into an immediate income stream). It’s called variable because your account value goes up or down, according to how your investments are doing. 

You allocate your premium among any number of subaccounts. These subaccounts correspond to a Thrivent portfolio. Your investment choices run the gamut of capitalization sizes, risk levels and sectors. Numbering 33, they are:

  • Thrivent Aggressive Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent All Cap Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Balanced Income Plus Portfolio
  • Thrivent Diversified Income Plus Portfolio
  • Thrivent ESG Index Portfolio
  • Thrivent Global Stock Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Government Bond Portfolio 
  • Thrivent High-Yield Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Income Portfolio
  • Thrivent International Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent International Index Portfolio
  • Thrivent Large-Cap Growth Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Large-Cap Index Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Large-Cap Value Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Limited Maturity Bond Portfolio
  • Thrivent Low Volatility Equity Portfolio
  • Thrivent Mid-Cap Growth Portfolio
  • Thrivent Mid-Cap Index Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Mid-Cap Stock Portfolio
  • Thrivent Mid-Cap Value Portfolio
  • Thrivent Moderate Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Moderately Aggressive Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Moderately Conservative Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Money Market Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Multidimensional Income Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Opportunity Income Plus Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Partner Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Partner Growth Stock Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Partner Healthcare Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Real Estate Securities Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Small-Cap Growth Portfolio
  • Thrivent Small-Cap Index Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Small-Cap Stock Portfolio

At the time of purchase, you have the option of adding a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) rider for an additional fee. This allows you to withdraw up to a guaranteed withdrawal amount (GWA) penalty-free each contract year while the rider is in force. (Without this rider, you are allowed to withdraw up to 10% every year without incurring a surrender charge.) The GWA is based on your age, premium amount and how long you wait until you make a withdrawal. Should you die before you annuitize, this rider also allows your beneficiary to receive your initial premium value, adjusted for additional payments, partial surrenders (early withdrawals) and charges.

To add the GLWB, your premium must be at least $25,000 and you must be age 50 to 85. Also, your investment options are limited to:

  • Thrivent Aggressive Allocation Portfolio
  • Thrivent Moderate Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Moderately Aggressive Allocation Portfolio 
  • Thrivent Moderately Conservative Allocation Portfolio 

If you choose not to add the GLWB rider, you are eligible to add an optional maximum anniversary death benefit (MADB), premium accumulation death benefit (PADB) and/or earnings addition death benefit (EADB) rider. All of these options come with an additional fee and only apply if you (the annuitant) die before you start receiving payouts. They basically guarantee different ways your account would be valued to determine how much your beneficiary would receive. If you don’t add one of these riders, the standard, free death benefit would apply. It would pay your beneficiary the greater of the accumulated value of your account or the adjusted sum of premiums.

Once you annuitize, you can elect to receive payments for a fixed period, for life with a guaranteed period (should you die during the guaranteed period, your beneficiary will receive the remaining payments) or for two lifetimes (yours and usually a spouse’s) with a guaranteed period.

If you don’t add the GLWB rider, the minimum initial premium is $5,000 or $2,000 if your contract is issued in connection with a qualified retirement plan. Initial contracts are for seven years.


Compared to fixed and indexed annuities, variable annuities have a lot of fees. They include a $30 annual administrative change (which may be waived if your account meets certain requirements), a maximum mortality and expense risk charge for the first seven years of 1.25% (starting with the eighth year, it’s 1.15%), and portfolio operating expenses that range from 0.24% and 3.90%. Also, the portfolios are invested in funds that will have their own expenses and fees.

If you add the GLWB rider, the cost is an annual 1.25%. The MADB is 0.20% and the PADB 0.40%, EADB 0.25%. If you have more than one of these riders, the annual costs are:

  • MADB and PADB - 0.50%
  • MADB and EADB - 0.35%
  • PADB and EADB - 0.55%
  • MADB, PADB and EADB - 0.65%

If you withdraw more than the allowed 10% amount in a contract year, the surrender charge is 7% the first year and decreases 1% every year until the contract ends. If you are not yet age 59.5, withdrawals will also be subject to a 10% IRS penalty, on top of income taxes.

Once you annuitize, funds that are still in portfolios (you can move them to a fixed rate account) will be an annual mortality and expense risk charge of 1.25%. And if you decide at that time to take out part of your money as a lump sum, you’ll be charged a commuted value charge of 0.25%.

Realistic Return Expectations

How your investments do depends on the markets, of course. Generally, the more aggressive your investing strategy, the more your potential for growth over the long term. Though you would likely have even more potential for growth if you invested directly in the stock market, since you’d have fewer fees.

Tips for Retirement Planning

  • Many people who buy deferred annuities have maxed out on their other tax-deferred options. A financial advisor can assess whether an annuity is indeed the best place for your retirement savings. Use SmartAsset’s pro matching tool to find a suitable advisor. It’ll connect you with up to three, based on your goals and preferences.
  • How much do you need to save for retirement? Find out with our retirement calculator. It takes into account even such factors as state taxes and Social Security benefits.

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