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Navigating the World of Annuities for a Secure Retirement

September 25, 2018


Click the video above to follow along as David Reyes, The Retirement Architect provides insightful information on Annuities

In today's ever-changing financial landscape, planning for retirement has never been more critical, especially as we live longer lives than previous generations. The need for a guaranteed lifetime income has become paramount. In this article, we will delve into the world of annuities and their role in securing your financial future.

The Longevity Revolution

The 21st century has brought about a remarkable revolution – the longevity revolution. On average, people today live 34 years longer than their great-grandparents, leading to a second lifetime, complete with unique financial challenges and opportunities.

Understanding Annuities

Annuities have garnered both praise and criticism in the financial world. To better comprehend this topic, let's explore the various aspects of annuities.

The Downsides of Annuities

Annuities come with their share of drawbacks. Variable annuities, as the name implies, can be quite volatile, leading to uncertainty for investors. One of their major downsides is the high fees, which can amount to as much as three or four percent annually. To put it in perspective, a $500,000 annuity could accrue $20,000 in annual fees alone, necessitating a 4% return just to break even.

Steering Clear of the Pitfalls

To avoid these pitfalls, many investors opt to replace variable annuities with fixed annuities. Fixed annuities offer stability and peace of mind, guaranteeing the return of your principal and shielding your capital from market volatility. The key distinction is that fixed annuities come with lower or even zero fees, offering significant cost savings over time.

The Advantages of Income Annuities

Now, let's focus on the positive side of annuities. Given the longevity revolution, the most significant concern for retirees is outlasting their income. This fear is justified, especially for those relying on assets like stocks and bonds, which can be vulnerable to market fluctuations, significantly impacting retirement income.

A Solution: Income Annuities

To mitigate this risk, retirees often employ a strategy called bifurcation. This approach involves dividing assets into two categories: one designated for growth and the other for income. By allocating a portion of assets to income, typically around 30% to 60%, retirees can ensure a steady stream of funds to cover essential expenses, providing financial security in retirement.

Fixed income annuities play a crucial role in this strategy, offering guaranteed lifetime income—a lifeline in retirement planning. Traditional annuities provide level payouts throughout their lifetime, but there's a variant: increasing income annuities. These annuities offer both guaranteed lifetime income and the potential for rising payments over time.

The Benefits of Increasing Income Annuities

Consider a scenario where you retire at 65 and secure a guaranteed lifetime income of $69,495 annually from a $1 million annuity. After a decade, your income from the same annuity has increased to $90,000 annually—a remarkable 25% growth. Increasing income annuities serve as a robust defense against inflation, healthcare costs, and market volatility, providing peace of mind during retirement.


As we navigate the longevity revolution, securing a stable and potentially increasing income in retirement becomes crucial. Annuities, when chosen wisely, can be a valuable addition to your retirement portfolio. By steering clear of the pitfalls associated with variable annuities and embracing the benefits of fixed and increasing income annuities, you can design a secure retirement plan. It is essential to plan diligently, stay informed, and consider the role annuities can play in your financial future as you prepare for a comfortable retirement.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.
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