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Fixed annuities provide fixed benefits as declared in advance by the insurance company, independently of the company’s actual investment experience. Annuities are designed to provide the purchaser with a regular income for a specified period of time or for as long as he or she lives. Income benefits from a deferred annuity begin at some future time, such as retirement or a specific age, as designated by the purchaser. In most situations, but not all, a death benefit is paid to the designated beneficiary. Deferred annuities may be bought on an installment plan (premium payments) or with a lump-sum payment. The interest earned is tax deferred until it is withdrawn, either by a cash withdrawal or as part of periodic payments.