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Annuities and Retirement Planning

Annuities are long-term investment vehicles designed for retirement purposes. In addition to a choice of variable investment options, tax-deferred accumulation, and death benefit protection for beneficiaries prior to annuitization, they offer a choice of annuity payout options. Withdrawals or surrenders may be subject to surrender charges. Withdrawals of taxable amounts will be subject to ordinary income tax and possible mandatory federal income tax withholding, and if taken prior to age 59½- 10% IRS penalty may also apply. Withdrawals have the effect of reducing the death benefit, cash surrender value, and any optional benefits.

An annuity is a long-term investment contract guaranteed by the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company that provides you with an option to annuitize at retirement. An annuitized contract provides you with a regular stream of income, for as long as you live or for a designated period of time after your retirement. Annuities also include a death benefit, which means that you can designate a beneficiary to receive the full amount of money you invested if you die before you start receiving annuity payments.

Assets in an annuity grow tax deferred until payout under the terms of your contract, and there are no contribution limits. As with other retirement-oriented investment vehicles, you’re subject to penalties if you withdraw money from an annuity before age 59½.

Generally variable annuities carry an annual mortality and expense risk charge; administration charge and a contingent deferred sales charge. In addition, annuities usually offer optional enhanced death and living benefit riders, which may have fees associated with them.

Types of Annuities

Annuities can be categorized into a few different types:

  • A fixed annuity is a contract where principal, interest, and the amount of benefits paid are fully guaranteed by the insurance company.
  • A variable annuity does not offer guaranteed returns. Instead, variable annuities offer the potential to realize higher rates of return by giving you the opportunity to choose the variable investment options in which your money will be invested. Please keep in mind that your rate of return is not guaranteed and your principle is subject to fluctuations. Most variable annuities also offer a fixed interest rate account in addition to the variable investment options.
  • An immediate annuity is purchased with a single premium payment and you set the starting date for the payout to begin sometime within the next 12 months-generally sooner rather than later.
  • A deferred annuity is an annuity for which payments are made to the annuitant only after a specified period of time, known as the accumulation period, has passed. You can build your deferred annuity with a lump sum, a series of payments over time, or both. The ability to combine one-time and periodic contributions gives you added flexibility in building a larger retirement resource.


An annuity’s most unique feature is its annuitization option. This feature cannot be found in any other investment or accumulation vehicle. When you annuitize, usually at retirement, you have the option to receive a stream of income that you cannot outlive. If the annuity benefits are to be paid over your lifetime, the monthly or annual payment amount is guaranteed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing company regardless of how long you live, even if the total payments exceed the accumulated account value of the annuity.

Variable annuities and their underlying variable investment options are sold by prospectus only. Prospectuses contain important information, including fees and expenses. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money. You should consider the investment objectives, risks, fees and charges of the investment company carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information. To obtain a fund prospectus, please contact your investment professional or call 800.221.3253. To download a contract or fund prospectus, please visit www.GuardianInvestor.com.

SPIA (Single Premium Immediate Annuity)

Entering into retirement may be a pivotal point in your life. It is a time of change. It is a time when you will need to make certain decisions about your accumulated retirement assets, decisions that may shape your lifestyle during retirement to what you envision it could be…or not.

You may be asking:

  • How long will my retirement last?
  • How long will my accumulated retirement assets last?
  • Am I confident that my retirement assets will be able to support my lifestyle during a prolonged down market?
  • Will I need to reduce or eliminate some of my comfort-living activity expenses, like my club membership fees, dining out or going to the movies?
  • Can I create a guaranteed stream of payments with some of my money?

An immediate annuity may be the right product for you to consider purchasing with some of your assets. An immediate annuity provides income (annuity payments) to you from a single premium payment made to the issuing insurance company in return for the contract (annuity). The issuing insurance company, in turn, will make annuity payments to you for a set amount of time (period certain) or for the rest of your life (life option). The annuity payments are guaranteed by the insurance company to last for the amount of time you choose, so it is important to choose a product from a reputable and stable insurance company.

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