Annuities aren’t for everyone. If you aren’t worried about running out of income, you may not need an annuity.
“Bill Gates doesn’t need an annuity. If you have enough money from Social Security and other retirement assets, you may not need an annuity, either.
Likewise, “if you know you have health problems that make it unlikely you’ll reach your life expectancy, an annuity wouldn’t make sense” unless you have a spouse you want to provide for.
But if you’re healthy and you want the security of a stream of income you can’t outlive, or you want to provide for your spouse or heirs, you may benefit from an annuity. Just don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
You want to have enough non-annuity money accessible to cover unanticipated expenses and some of your living expenses. For most people, this means putting about 25% of their retirement assets into an annuity.
If you do decide to buy an annuity, do so through a financial advisor – this isn’t recommended as a do-it-yourself task. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting, particularly all of the insurance charges, fees and conditions.
Annuity contractual guarantees should be shopped with all carriers, and you should demand to be shown the top three to five carrier guarantees for your situation.
If you end up in an annuity that isn’t right for you, you can always get out free of charge during the free look period.
The free look period is the length of time annuitants can receive a full refund of their contract. If you cancel during the free look period, you get everything you paid back, no questions asked. Free look periods vary by state and can be anywhere from 10 to 30 days.
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