What is the Greatest Disadvantage of an Equity-Indexed Annuity?
Equity-indexed annuities have quickly become one of the hottest insurance products available today, offering investors limited gains in the stock market and protecting against downside risk by offering guaranteed minimum returns (excluding dividends).
Indexed annuities are complex investments with multiple advantages that include potential market-linked growth and principal protection, along with tax advantages like deferral of interest earnings.
The Greatest Disadvantage of an Equity-Indexed Annuity
Indexed annuities offer potential returns tied to market index performance. While they often come with guaranteed minimum rate of return that’s typically lower than fixed annuities, maximum amounts earned through interest accrual are usually capped as well. While their upside potential may be limited, many of these products provide protection from downside risk by including features like floors and buffers into contracts.
Notably, annuities’ returns may not always track with the performance of an index; sometimes their calculation involves using a participation rate to limit how much growth in an index can affect them; other times the returns on these annuities are limited annually or annually capped. Furthermore, these annuities generally exclude dividends when computing growth for your account.
An annuity’s intricate inner workings make them difficult for investors to fully comprehend, while marketers may present its benefits in misleading ways. Furthermore, many annuities come with surrender charges which allow insurance companies to retain some of your investment should you withdraw it early; these surrender charges tend to decrease over time until eventually disappearing altogether after some 10-12 years.
One common drawback with equity-indexed annuities is high sales commissions, which can significantly diminish returns over time. No matter which annuity type you select, it is vital that you carefully read over its terms and conditions in order to ensure it suits your needs and fees are appropriately applied; this includes comparing index annuity fees against those charged for similar products as well as considering any riders or guarantees that may incur extra costs before making your selection.
The Greatest Advantage of an Equity-Indexed Annuity
An equity-indexed annuity is a type of fixed annuity that offers some protection from loss, with potential returns tied to market index performance – such as S&P 500 index. Due to this feature, equity-indexed annuities are popular choices among moderately conservative investors; however there may be drawbacks associated with considering this investment option.
One major advantage of indexed annuities is the guaranteed minimum interest rate they offer on approximately 90% of your premium, in contrast to variable annuities that only offer returns on remaining portions. The guarantee provides protection from potential stock market losses; an important advantage for retirees who have experienced significant financial setbacks in the past.
An equity-indexed annuity may offer more than a minimum return guarantee: in addition to its “participation rate”, which varies among annuities, such as when its market index rises 10% and your annuity shares that gain. When this happens, its participation rate determines what portion will be credited back into your contract – though some annuities use different methodologies for this calculation which makes comparison difficult.
Index annuities often limit the gains that will be credited back to your contract, and may include spread, margin, or asset fees that further limit gains. While indexed annuities offer potential higher returns than fixed annuities, investing directly in the markets would offer even more potential returns; for these reasons experts do not advise replacing bonds with equity-indexed annuities; rather they should be included as part of a diverse portfolio strategy.