Fixed Annuities and the Benefit of Longevity Insurance

February 21, 2012

It is a common question asked by area seniors conducting New York estate planning: How do I know if I have enough money to last the rest of my life? There are no easy answers. A lot depends on the source of income that one has when conducting their planning and exactly how those funds are being used. However, some financial planning tools exist which can provide peace of mind for those who want it, particularly in volatile market conditions. As explained this weekend by Investment News, one of the options is a deferred-income fixed annuity, often known as the main type of "longevity insurance."

Fixed annuities are essentially investment contracts with an insurance company. This means that the insurance company agrees to pay out a set income based on the value of the investment. These annuities can be either deferred or immediate. For estate planning purposes, deferred annuities often allow those thinking ahead to make investments before hand for guaranteed payouts down the road. Many different types of fixed annuities exist. Some are for a set rate of income while others take into account market conditions to some extent--blunting the effect of marketing downturns while allowing the recipient to share in some of the market booms. In this way, our New York retirement planning lawyers realize that lifetime annuities are often beneficial for those thinking about their long-term finances.

While they may be important investment tools for some, annuities are not for everyone. When compared to other investments, this type of insurance can offer lower rates of return. Many advisors suggest that the insurance is best when higher interest rates are present. This means that investors can put less money up front to get the same guaranteed income stream down the road. Often annuities are used in combination with other investment tools. Yet, many annuity plans have steep penalties for early withdrawal, which is unattractive to some.

However, where appropriate these insurance options are good ways for residents to have the peace of mind of never having to worry about "outliving" their money. In addition, this insurance can be helpful in some situations involving multigenerational trusts. For example, when a senior establishes a trust for an adult child, longevity insurance can be taken out on the adult child's life--the grandchildren are named as beneficiaries. This protects against the risk of the child living too long and using up funds that were intended for grandchildren.

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