For those who have no idea about what an annuity is, it is basically an agreement between an individual and an insurance providing company where a certain amount of money is paid either at once or on a regular basis so that there is a steady flow of income once the individual retires. However, annuity plans can be drawn up as per an individual’s requirement. With a little bit of guidance from the right sources, it is possible to make wise investment to secure your future.
We shall now try and understand the different types of annuity plans that can be accepted.
· Initial payment: One can choose between making a lump sum payment right at the beginning or pay monthly instalments to the insurance provider until the amount that has been agreed upon is reached.
· Returns for the investment: In fact, investing in such schemes is a very wise thing to do. Especially if the insurance provider is a trusted name. The returns are also made as per the individual’s choice. Immediate repayment for the investment can begin if it is chosen; such a payment method is known as immediate annuity. However, most people make such investments to secure their future and reap returns at a later date. Such a method is known as deferred annuity.
· Period of return: Like all other factors that are attached with this type of investment, this is also a variable factor. One can choose to get returns for a period of 20 years or till one’s death. The one small advantage when one opts for a lifetime period of return is that the monthly cheque that he/ she may receive will be much lesser. But, opting for this method ensures that there is a steady income until the very end. And, this also ensures that a person does not face any problem with regard to outliving his/ her assets.
Apart from these three factors, Annuity is differentiated based on return potential.
· Fixed Annuity: The returns are guaranteed for a lifetime. But, the amount that gets deposit in the individual’s bank account is slightly modest. It is usually marginally higher than the returns one gets from a current deposit.
· Variable Annuity: For higher returns one may choose Variable annuity. However, here the risk is slightly higher and works along the lines of mutual funds. It is a function of the market fluctuations.
· Indexed Annuity: This is mid way between the two above stated types. Even though there is a guaranteed return of certain amount. A small portion of the returns is tied to the market rates and the gains or losses are determined accordingly.
One might wonder what exactly the biggest advantages of making such investment are. These annuities allow an individual to save all the money which would otherwise be paid to the government as tax. With many plans that are flooding the market, one should choose the most beneficial plan which will allow the person to stock up as much savings as possible without letting go of hard earned money. This eventually leads to a person having a secured life in the later stages. It is like investing a pound in your bank and this pound begins to work for you and generates income for later years by compounding with every passing year. On having reached the end of contract one might choose to either make a big withdrawal or may choose to re-invest in a similar plan with the insurer to generate a larger and steady income.
Choosing and buying an annuity needs a little bit of research or a trusted resource helping. Listed below are some points to be borne in mind while buying an annuity:
· Thoroughly understand the type of annuity that you are choosing to buy.
· Get all the details: rate of interest, return period, fees, length of payment.
· Consider the reputation of the insurance company very seriously. Research thoroughly before buying an annuity.
· Make sure that the rate of interest when a fixed annuity is chosen is at least suitable. Compromising on this factor drastically shows that you have invested poorly.
· Understand the fees you will be paying each time you buy an annuity. In certain cases the fees might have to be paid when the returns are obtained.
The fact that such policies are drawn out to make sure that a person leads a comfortable life should not be forgotten. And, all decisions must be made keeping this in mind. Choosing an annuity after giving it much thought and thoroughly understanding the terms and conditions of the contract are highly recommended.
Buying an annuity can be a confusing process, but it is something that will highly benefit you in the long run! It is the best way to turn your hard-earned and long saved for pension into a source of income that will last you for the rest of your life. Many people end up throwing away a great deal of money so by simply shopping around for the right annuity for you, you could manage to increase your retirement income by up to 30% Now that is definitely worth the effort.
The process is complicated and it is therefore of the utmost importance that you know what you are doing at every stage of the process. There are so many different options, so take the time and patience to ensure that you get the absolute best rate to boost your income.
The best way to find what is right for you is to go through an advisor that specializes annuities. An independent advisor will tell you exactly what you need and who can provide it for you, and you can find these online or in directories. You don’t need to go sifting through ’s and books to find the information you need, when a trusted and reliable professional can do the job for you.
So here is the process that you will go through. 6 months before retirement, your pension company will send you a ’wake-up’ pack containing the basics on the annuity. Then 10 weeks before retirement they will send you a ’reminder-pack’ to stress how important it is to choose your annuity. This is a kick up the butt to get searching and the time to contact your advisor.
The advisor will tell you about all of the products out there so you will be sure to find the one that it most suited to you, by the provider most suited to you. You can use the Open Market Option to take your fund to another provider if they offer you a better rate.
You can find lots more information on annuity and other related topics online, and by contacting your pension provider for contacts.
Committing to an annuity is a big decision. It will set the financial parameters of your retirement and the rest of your life, so it is very important to make sure that you are getting the best possible deal for your purchase. Not only are there many different kinds of annuities, and conditions determining the annuity rate you can expect, there are also possible additions to your annuity that it is a good idea to consider. So before you, you need to consult an independent financial adviser and you need to ask yourself these questions.
If you are thinking about an annuity, chances are you have been approached by your pension provider because you are nearing retirement age. When this happens they will go through all your information and offer potential options for the kinds of annuities that are available to you. There will be a lot of jargon and it will be difficult to follow.
So, the first question you need to ask yourself is if you understand all the options that are open to you. If you do not, then you can seek information online or through your financial adviser. There are a finite number of options, but you do need to understand the differences between them. Some good questions to ask about the suggestions are if it is a variable annuity, or fixed? If it is a deferred annuity or an immediate annuity and is it a market-linked annuity?
These first questions will give an idea of the kind of annuities that are being suggested for you, and then continue with your own research so you can come back with educated questions. If you have a financial adviser, but you don’t understand the suggestions they are making, then you need a new financial adviser. So, the next question to ask is if you are getting the best help from your current adviser.
You also need to ask if taking out an annuity is the best way to have a secure financial retirement. This will depend in part on the sum you have to invest, so the next question you need to ask is how much you can invest and what this will amount to in terms of your annuity rate. These rates will shift and change and so it is important to find the best time to invest if you are able to wait.
If you have decided that an annuity is the best financial option for your retirement, and are looking at what the options might be, you may have been surprised by the various kinds of annuities that are available. Part of the research that you will need to do is to go through the various options and decide which ones might suit you best. It is always wise to consult an independent financial advisor before making any firm decisions but it is also a good idea to do your own research and find out what kinds of annuities are out there. A standard annuity will give you a fixed rate of return on the money you invest from your pension. You will receive an annual from the money you invest, at a rate that will be determined by your health, where you live and your initial investment.
The rates for these standard annuities are not what they used to be and so it is a good idea to see if you qualify for any alternative annuities like enhanced annuities. Even if you don’t there are other options besides the standard annuity, such as the fixed term annuity. This is a kind of annuity with a certain time limit.
When the date of your annuity plan expires, the income that you have saved in your annuity plan will be given to you. This amount is comprised of your initial sum you saved and the interest the sum has incurred. Once the payment of this sum has been completed the plan is over. As the title suggests it is an annuity that lasts for a certain period of time. It can be useful for saving money it has good interest rates and is pretty flexible. This is why it is thought to be one of the better annuity plans.
There are also with-profit annuities. This works in much the same way as with-profit investments, so the returns that are incurred on your investment are smoothed out over a period of time. If in a particular year, you earn more on your investment, it will be held back to balance out the tougher years. It is best, if choosing this option to go for a minimum guaranteed annual income. This will ensure that you will have enough to live on. These kinds of annuities do give more flexibility, and can be a good way of managing the money you have saved for your retirement.
Do You Qualify for an Enhanced Annuity?
A couple of years before you retire you will begin to think about the various options open to you for managing your money saved in your pension. There is a wealth of information available and it will take some time to process it all. Annuity rates vary, as do the kinds of annuities that are available. One of the annuities that you should have come across is an enhanced annuity.
If you are considering an annuity at all you should check to see if you are eligible for an enhanced annuity because it will mean a higher annuity rate, and therefore a higher income. There are certain criteria that need to be satisfied in order to have an enhanced annuity, but the criteria are not complicated and are more inclusive than you might think. Once you have bought an annuity, your plan is set, so it is very important to try to cover all your bases before you make the final commitment.
Since a standard annuity works on the assumption that you are in good health, it calculates your life expectancy accordingly, giving you a lower income over a longer period of time; while an enhanced annuity is based on a lower life expectancy. This means that the calculation will estimate paying you over a shorter period of time but with a higher regular income. Thus, if you have a health condition you may very well qualify for an .
Most pension providers won’t advertise this option too much, so you will need to ask for it. There are also some pension providers that don’t offer an enhanced annuity, which is why you need to shop around for the best annuity offer. So what are the kinds of things to consider when looking at an enhanced annuity?
Are you a smoker? Are you on any prescription medication? Have you had a medical condition that has meant you have been hospitalised recently? Are you significantly overweight? Do you suffer from high cholesterol? Are you diabetic? Have you had a stroke? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then there is a good chance that you qualify for an enhanced annuity. There are, of course, other things that may be considered for an enhanced annuity, so it is best that you seek independent financial advice in order to make sure you have gone through all your options.
A standard annuity is calculated according to your age, where you live, and your general health. An enhanced annuity works in a similar way, but the rate of the enhanced annuity will depend on the current condition of your health. This is why if you are considering an enhanced annuity you will have to answer a lot of questions about your health. These questions might make you unconformable and seem probing, but if you do qualify it will definitely make it all worthwhile.
Most people who apply for an annuity don’t even realise that they are eligible for an enhanced annuity and so they miss out on the possibility of a greater income. Every penny and pound counts these days and it is unwise not to seek every possibility of maximising your retirement income. If you do fit the overt criteria for an enhanced annuity, it can make a big difference and it is simple enough to go through the process of getting one. If you are unsure if you are eligible it is still a good idea to look into it and find out for sure. The best way to do this is to talk to a professional independent financial adviser.
The idea of an annuity is that you invest the money you have saved from your pension. This investment will give you an annual income to live on until you pass away. It is one way to ensure that you are guaranteed an income even after you have retired. Part of what makes this kind of investment interesting is that it is tied to your life expectancy. So your medical condition and lifestyle play a big role in the kind of annuity rates you can get and the kinds of annuities that will be best for you.
When calculating your , an annuity provider will take into consideration where you live, your age and your health. They consider mortality rates in the area you live. If the area has a high mortality rate you might get a better annuity, because the insurer will presume that you are going to die in a shorter period of time, and so they will need to make larger payments over a shorter period. This is not really something that you have control over, but you do have control over your health and lifestyle.
If you are approaching retirement age and beginning to think about an annuity, it is also a good idea to think about getting your health in order if there are any causes for concern. If there is, then it is a good idea to look into an enhanced annuity. On average this is available to about one in three annuity seekers. Basically, the way it works is that if you are in poor health then you can buy an enhanced annuity which will give you a greater pay out over a shorter period of time.
If you are a smoker or are obese then you should consider an enhanced annuity. If you are not sure if you are eligible it is always a good idea to look into it. The way it works is that for example, you invest $100,000 with an annuity provider. If you have a shorter life expectancy then they will have a shorter amount of time to pay you your annual income which means that the rates you receive will be higher. This is why it is so beneficial to try to get an enhanced annuity. If this is something you are considering, the first thing you must do is find an independent financial adviser to help you make the right decision and find the best annuity plan for your retirement.
Equity release allows homeowners to benefit from the equity tied up to their property. The money that is raised can be withdrawn to suit the homeowner’s requirements and can either be taken as a lump sum or it can be made in flexible withdrawals. It allows older homeowners to tap into the value of their property without the need to sell up.
It is important to schemes as they come in two different distinct forms - Lifetime Mortgage and Home Reversion Scheme. The Lifetime Mortgage allows homeowners to take out a loan on their property in return for an upfront payment. The homeowner continues to own the property they are releasing equity on. Under this equity release scheme, the borrower will simply has the option to pay the interest that accrues on the loan and this is done on a monthly basis or as determined by the loan provider.
Home reversion schemes form a relatively lower percentage of the industry. Under this form of equity release scheme, the homeowner will sell all or part of their house/property or a certain percentage of it to a bank or a financial loan provider; when this transaction is done, they will still be able to reside in the property. When the property is ultimately sold the homeowner and their estate will only get the percentage of the property’s worth that is remaining. If, for example, you have sold 70%, you will only keep 30% of the final sale price.
For the lifetime mortgage, there are different plans which include Drawdown Plans, Enhanced Plans, protected equity plans and, Interest only lifetime mortgage repayment plans. The advantages of the roll-up type of equity release are there are no monthly payments, the homeowner maintains full ownership of the property, they benefit from an increase in value, and they have the option to repay the loan. The downfalls include an early repayment charge and it reduces the inheritance the homeowner is able to leave after their demise.
The advantages of the Home Reversion Scheme are its cash released can be spent as the homeowner wishes, it guarantees inheritance and can typically raise a larger sum of money. The drawbacks are that the amount the homeowner is able to leave an inheritance is reduced and the fact that Home Reversion plans cannot be reversed if 100% is sold to the home reversion provider.
Annuities are financial plans that offer a regular income to pensioners. There is a wide range of annuities on the market today, and different annuities are designed to suit people with different needs. For instance, escalating annuities could be suitable for those who want to ensure that their annuity income does not erode in the face of rising inflation levels in the future, while enhanced annuities may offer those who qualify with much more income than a conventional annuity. Once purchased, an annuity cannot be changed or canceled, so it is important to explore all your options and choose carefully. There are many leading annuity providers on the market today, and comparing their products can help you find the best value.
The most common way to fund an annuity is through a pension savings pot. Pension providers are obligated to offer an annuity deal to customers. However, customers are not obligated to select the first offer that is made. In fact, the open market option allows customers to explore the entire wider financial market, and shop around to find the most suitable annuity at the most competitive rates. As per FSA guidelines, pension providers must inform customers about the open market option and make them aware of the benefits of shopping around.
Shopping around is easy thanks to comparison websites which allow you to compare different annuities from different annuity providers and even get online quotes based on your information. Once you have selected one or more annuities, an independent financial adviser can help you understand each product in more detail and advise about which annuity may work best in your individual context. Independent financial advisers also often have access to exclusive deals and offers from leading , which are not otherwise accessible to customers.
Some annuity providers that have proved to be the market leaders include AVIVA, Just Retirement, Prudential, LV= and Standard Life, among others. Let’s look at some of these in some more detail.
AVIVA is a British multinational insurance company and currently the sixth largest insurance company in the world. AVIVA has become and remained the market leader not just in the area of insurance, but also within the pension and annuities sector since its inception in 2000. However, the company goes back much further than 2000. AVIVA’s roots can be traced back to the late 1600s, to the establishment of the Hand in Hand Fire and Life Insurance Society, London.
The company offers three types of annuities: a Lifetime Pension Annuity which offers regular lifelong income; Immediate Annuity which can be bought with alternative funds and starts from the age of 55 onwards; and the With Profit Pension Annuity which has an investment component.
Just Retirement is a specialist financial services company based in the UK and established in 2004. It offers a range of products including annuities and equity release schemes. Just Retirement currently offers Enhanced Annuities and a Fixed Term Annuity with the flexible capped drawdown arrangement option.
LV= is a leading financial mutual based in the UK. LV= offers two types of annuities at the moment: the conventional Lifetime Pension Annuity and the Pension Income Plus Annuity which has an investment component similar to AVIVA’s with profit pension annuity. The pension income plus annuity invests in a range of areas including property, cash and stocks and shares.
These are some of the leading annuity providers currently operating in the UK. All market leading companies are regulated by the Financial Services Authority and follow the guidelines and regulations laid down by them.
Probably the most important savings plan you will have for your life is your pension. This may be something that you have set up yourself or had as a benefit from your employer. It is therefore vitally important when you reach your planned retirement age that you received the best possible advice to ensure that you make the right choices. This truly is your life savings and could make the difference between living comfortably in your old age and having to struggle to make ends meet.
Consideration should be given to the level of income that you may require at various stages in your retirement, for example if you retire aged 65 you may wish to spend time traveling and enjoying your new found freedom from work, then as you get older your expectations for travel may curtail leaving you with a lower income required which may then peak in your later year should you require . Many of those reaching their planned retirement age may wish to continue in some form of employment and therefore could opt to phase their retirement and just turn on the income when it is required.
Most retirees will opt to take their pension income in the form of a standard annuity. You are able to take up to 25% of the pension funds as a tax free cash sum and then the balance of funds would be used to purchase an income for the rest of your life. Once the purchase of a standard annuity has been completed it cannot be altered and therefore could lack flexibility. You can however opt to include features such as a continuing benefit to a spouse or partner, guaranteed payments for 5 or 10 years should you die the pension will continue in payment.
You can also protect your future income against the effect of inflation by including an escalation option which can either be a fixed percentage or by Retail Price Index (RPI). The inclusion of any of the options detailed would have the effect of reducing the starting income on the annuity.
For someone with health problems and or some lifestyle choices like smoking, enhanced and impaired life annuities could be available. Very similar to a standard annuity and giving access to similar options, the rate is higher because of their health. Because certain medical conditions can have the effect of reducing your life expectancy the income you receive could be up to 40% higher. There is however a question that if your health is so poor should an annuity be the right option for you.
There are other types of annuity for consideration which include, investment-linked annuity, fixed-term annuity, and which profits annuities.
Before we look at the various options that are available for annuity purchase we should first consider what you wish to achieve in terms of income and benefit options and also where the funds will come from in order to complete the purchase.
The majority of annuity policies that are purchased in the UK are done so with the funds from a pension scheme. As an incentive for us to save for our retirement, the government allows tax relief on our contributions to a pension scheme at our marginal rate. Even those who do not earn enough to pay the tax can receive tax relief on contributions up to $3,600 per year. The funds are then allowed to grow in a tax efficient environment until you retire which can be any time after you reach the age of 55. At the point of retirement, you then have a pot of money with which to secure an income payment to last throughout your retirement. You may receive up to 25% of the fund as tax-free cash but the balance of the funds must then be used to purchase a or to move into Income Drawdown.
Purchased Life Annuity When someone requires an income but has no pension fund they can choose instead to purchase an annuity with their own savings and investments. This type of plan is a purchased Life Annuity. The main difference between this and a lifetime annuity is tax treatment. A purchased life annuity is partially a refund of capital and partially interest from the investment. Therefore only the interest element is subject to tax and would be taxed as investment income. Pension or Lifetime Annuities are considered income and are therefore taxed as earned income.
Standard Annuity This is the most basic annuity for your pension funds to purchase. In return for your fund, you will secure an income that will be guaranteed for the rest of your life. If no options are included the income that this plant produces will be a level income payable until you die whether this
Enhanced Annuity essentially the same as a standard annuity however some provider off a high level of income based on certain lifestyle choices such a smoking, drinking or being overweight or medical history. In some instances the income level may be up to 40% higher than they would be offered on a standard plan.
Other types of annuity these include investment-linked plans and with profit annuities who aim to provide a level of income that is higher than a standard annuity but will involve a certain level of investment risk. Fixed term annuities off more flexibility because they have a maturity date that will allow you to make further choices in the future.
Our clients are satisfied with their new lives!
National Equity Release Pension Conference, Bath Street, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1BX.
You can also contact us by phone , or you can send us a message here: