Understanding The Basics
A fixed index annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that may help you reach your long-term financial goals. In exchange for your premium payment, the insurance company provides you income, either starting immediately or at some time in the future.
How a fixed index annuity works
Most fixed index annuities have two phases. First, there's an accumulation phase, during which you let your money earn interest. This is followed by a distribution or payout phase, during which you receive money from your annuity. A fixed index annuity also guarantees you will receive at least the minimum guaranteed interest credited to the contract. Remember that all of these guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. With a fixed index annuity, you defer paying taxes on your contract's interest until you receive money from the contract. Tax-deferred interest means the money in your contract can grow faster!
Today's fixed index annuities offer a range of features and benefits that may help you accumulate assets for retirement, preserve what you've accumulated, turn those assets into a guaranteed stream of income, and help you pass on a financial legacy to your loved ones. You will be guaranteed the return of the money you originally paid into your annuity, unless you surrender your annuity during the surrender charge period.
Phase one: Accumulation
The accumulation phase begins as soon as you purchase your annuity. Your annuity can earn a fixed rate of interest that is guaranteed by the insurance company or an interest rate based on the growth of an external index.
Phase two: Distribution
The distribution phase of a fixed index annuity begins when you choose to receive income payments. You can always take income payments in the form of scheduled annuitization payments over a period of time, including your lifetime. And many fixed index annuities allow you to take income withdrawals as an alternative to annuitization=payments. Either way, you can choose from several different payout options based on your personal needs, including options for lifetime income, guaranteed.