Are Equity-Indexed Annuities Riskier?

Are equityindexed annuities riskier

Indexed annuities provide guaranteed minimum returns with tax-advantaged growth and limited downside risk, yet some people may be concerned with the fees associated with these products.

An annuity company will typically take steps to limit your gains by deducting a spread/margin/asset fee from index returns and some annuities may exclude dividends altogether from index returns.

They offer a guaranteed minimum return

An index annuity is a type of fixed annuity with limited downside risk and an adjustable rate of return that’s determined by an index’s performance, plus other factors like participation rates and spread/asset/margin fees. Index annuities offer greater returns than CDs due to this unique formula for calculating returns.

However, not all EIA products are created equal; each contract feature can have an impactful difference on returns, so it is wise to consult an advisor before investing in one.

Indexed annuities work like this: You pay an insurance company a lump sum or series of payments, which they then invest into various accounts or investments, earning interest based on market index performance while guaranteeing at least some return even if an indexed investment loses money.

They offer tax-advantaged growth

An equity-indexed annuity (EIA) ties its value to the performance of a market index and generates returns based on this performance, with an insurance company-specific “shield” protecting your principal from losses in index performance. Each EIA contract may use different indexing methods and participation rates; so it’s essential that you fully understand how yours operates before entering into it.

An EIA may include features specific to its index such as participation rate, spread/asset/margin fees, and caps that could have a dramatic impact on the index return credited to your account. Insurance companies can change these features at any time so it’s essential that you read your contract thoroughly and carefully understand its terms. Unfortunately, many EIAs are marketed in such a way as to overstate their potential returns and benefits; consequently they often cause misunderstood confusion among consumers; those making false or misleading statements could face penalties.

They offer limited downside risk

As with any financial product, there are tradeoffs to consider when selecting an annuity policy. Make sure you read through and comprehend its contract to fully comprehend what risks might be involved and consult a financial representative who can help find an annuity best suited to your needs.

Index annuities often offer guaranteed minimum interest rates with index-linked components of their returns based on how well the market performs; an annuity company will usually set a cap for how much of this market gain will be credited back into your contract, known as participation rate; they may also exclude dividends from calculations of this aspect of return.

An annuity company may use various indexing methods to credit the index-linked component of return. One such indexing approach, called point-to-point indexing, measures gains at two separate times during the year before averaging them out for each return payment period – an approach which could allow a higher participation rate compared with alternatives such as direct indexation.

They are illiquid

Index annuities may seem tempting for investors looking for protection from stock dips, but they come with certain drawbacks that should be considered when making this choice. First of all, their returns tend to be low; secondly, these products tend to be illiquid meaning you cannot withdraw funds without incurring significant penalties.

Another drawback of index funds is their tendency to cap how much growth you receive based on their index performance, typically by excluding dividends paid out on stocks that make up the index.

Indexed annuities typically charge surrender charges if you withdraw principal before a specified time frame has elapsed, though these typically decrease over time to disappear altogether after approximately ten years or so. Therefore, they are an unsuitable choice for people who need access their money quickly – particularly during bear markets – making an indexed annuity an unwise investment option; hence it must be carefully evaluated. Elder investors willing to sacrifice some investment gains in exchange for protection of principal may be better candidates.


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