An annuity allows a customer to deposit money (premiums) with an insurance company that can earn interest and grow on a tax-deferred basis with the agreement that the insurance company will then provide a series of payments back to the customer at regular intervals. People typically purchase annuities to provide or supplement retirement income they will receive from Social Security, pension benefits, investments and other sources. You can convert your annuity into a stream of income that can then be paid over a fixed period or for your lifetime. You can take withdrawals of varying amounts when you need the income. There are generally two different types of annuities:
Provides income payments that normally begin within a year after the premium is paid.
Provide income payments that begin later, often after many years. Deferred annuities are designed for long-term savings purposes.
Annuities are long-term investments designed for retirement purposes. Early withdrawals may be subject to a deferred sales charge and if taken prior to age 59½, a 10% federal penalty may apply. Money distributed from the annuity will be taxed as ordinary income in the year the money is received. Annuities may be subject to additional fees and expenses to which other tax-qualified plan funding vehicles may not be subject. The guarantees of annuity contracts are contingent on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.