When you think about your retirement, what goals do you have? For most people, it’s making sure the money lasts through out their retirement by balancing our financial life between reward and risk, savings preservation, and asset growth. In our personal lives having a balance between, stability, experiencing new adventures and enjoying favorite past-times are the goals.
No one can predict what the future might hold. It’s for that reason fixed indexed annuities (FIA’s) should be taken into account by people saving for retirement who are looking for peace of mind regardless of what happens in the Wall Street casino.
What is an FIA?
According to the Indexed Annuities Leadership Council, a fixed indexed annuity (FIA) is a contract between you and an insurance company. FIAs offer the opportunity for tax-deferred growth based in part on changes in a market index, plus the option to convert your annuity into a steady, guaranteed, lifetime income stream, all while protecting your hard-earned principal from the uncertainty of market volatility.
When purchasing an FIA, you agree to pay for it in either a single lump sum or multiple payments over time. In return, the insurance company takes the risk of market downturns to protect your annuity value and also promises to make payments from the annuity to you in a single payment or series of payments, over a fixed number of years.
Money in an FIA earns interest based on changes to the index. Annual interest is calculated using a unique formula based on changes in the performance of stocks (S&P, Dow Jones, NASDAQ), bonds (Capital Markets Bond Index), or commodities (CBUE). The index is used as an external benchmark – you do not actually invest your funds in it.
How an FIA Works
Generally, fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) have an interest rate floor, which is the minimum interest that will be credited each period – typically 0%, a participation rate, which is the percent of an index that will be used to calculate interest crediting, and/ or a cap, which is the maximum interest that will be credited. Together, the interest rate floor, participation rate, and cap determine the amount of interest you earn. Your interest earnings rate will always remain somewhere between the floor and the cap. It will not rise above the cap, even if the index goes higher. Conversely, it will never fall below zero, even if the index declines in value. In fact, the value of your money will never decline due to market loss for as long as it is in the FIA, although it can increase with a rising index.
If you withdraw your money from an FIA before an index terms ends, the annuity may not add all the index-linked interest for that term to your account. Additionally, like many long-term financial products, like CDs or mutual funds, FIAs have a surrender fee for early withdrawal, the terms of which depend on your contract.