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What is an annuity?
Annuities today can offer significantly higher rates than BANK CD's but before you put your money into an ANNUITY, get the facts.
An Annuity can be Fixed, paying a specific rate, Indexed based, paying interested based on the performance of an index or Variable, whether your assets are invested in the stock or bond market and your returns are based on their performance. What ever the kind of Annuity you get , the annuity is a long-term contract between you ( the annuitant) and an insurance company called the annuity issuer.
The contract term can be very short term like one year or less, and then can be a life time, it depends on what you want and what an insurance company offers.
Under the contract between you and the Insurance company, you will be paid interest. But there are several ways how how to calculate the interest. In the case of an Indexed or Fixed rate return Annuity, your principal will not fluctuate, But if you have a variable annuity you could loose principal. In a fixed rate annuity , the owner of the contract earns interest based on the declared rate. But in the case of Fixed and Indexed Annuities, you earn interest deferred (subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuer). The Insurance company declares a rate on your contract and the interest is added to your policy on a yearly basis.
If you have a fixed annuity, your interest rate is guaranteed by the Insurance company . With a variable annuity, your earnings are linked with the fluctuating performance of your investments and may be worth more or less than your principal when redeemed. In addition, you have added control in how your money is invested, creating a higher potential for growth. However, this option comes with a higher risk in return.
Unlike other investment plans, there is no limit to how much you can invest in an annuity. Your funds will steadily grow with a tax-deferred status, and you pay your regular tax income rate on only your earnings upon withdrawal.
What annuity options are available?
An immediate annuity can begin paying you right away. You can choose whether you want your income guaranteed for a specific time period or if you want lifelong payments. The amount of your payments is calculated based on your principal and your life expectancy.
A deferred annuity is broken up into two phases:
- Accumulation: This is when you add money to your annuity, whether you pay in a lump sum or you make a series of payments. You can continue to let your account grow tax-deferred for an indefinite amount of time.
- Distribution: This is when you begin withdrawing money from your annuity whether you take out systematic withdrawals or you annuitize to supplement your finances with a regular stream of income for life.
Why buy an annuity?
An annuity is a good option for individuals who seek safety and a reasonable rate of return and can be very competitive against other alternatives . Your earnings can then be used to supplemental income during retirement, also providing a guaranteed financial independence as you age, or a monetary legacy to leave behind for your loved ones. An annuity can help you continue living comfortably well into old age.
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