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An Annuity is a long-term financial product designed largely for asset accumulation and retirement needs. Annuities generally contain fees and charges which include, but are not limited to, surrender charges, administrative fees and for optional contract riders and benefits. Withdrawals and death benefits are subject to income tax. If withdrawals and other distributions are received prior to age 59 ½, a 10% penalty may apply. Annuities typically carry surrender charges for several years that may be assessed against withdrawals. Certain Annuity product features, offered by some Annuity companies, such as stepped-up death benefit, a bonus credit and a guaranteed minimum income benefit, carry added fees. If you are investing in an Annuity through a tax-advantaged plan such as an IRA, you will get no added tax advantage. Under these circumstances, you should only consider buying an Annuity if it makes sense because of the Annuity’s other features, such as lifetime income payments and death benefit protection. All guarantees of an Annuity are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer.
Any comments regarding safe or secure investments or guarantees of income refer only to fixed insurance products and do not refer in any way to securities or investment advisory products. Fixed index annuities with income riders are long-term investments and are not a direct or indirect investment in the stock market and while protecting principal against all stock market losses, will in almost all cases earn a lower rate of return than the stock market in positive stock market growth years, meaning you will not receive full stock market participation. Income riders in a fixed index annuity may provide a specified and guaranteed lifetime income amount and a specified and guaranteed “roll-up rate” that increases the guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit which increases future guaranteed lifetime income, but is not available in a lump sum. Fixed income annuities typically contain a margin/spread/asset or administrative fee that subtracts a set percentage from the gain in the index being tracked. These features reduce your return in the same way that a direct fee would even if the annuity is called a “no fee” annuity. Income riders will typically carry an annual fee of approximately 1%, and your fee could be higher or lower. Principal guarantees, lifetime income guarantees, and guaranteed death benefits discussed are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.