There are various types of investment options for individuals, especially those saving for retirement in the USA. However, a variable annuity stands out from the rest because of some of its features.
The first advantage of a variable annuity is that it offers the investor different investment choices. The investor can choose to allocate their funds to the different options, such as stocks or bonds, and they can even choose to allocate some of the funds to a fixed account. This type of annuity is also very flexible, as the individual has the option of transferring some of their funds to a different sub-account without paying much.
The second advantage of a variable annuity is that the individual does not pay taxes on any gain on investment as long as they do not withdraw the funds. This means that they can leave the funds to accumulate for a particular period of time without paying any tax to the federal government on this income.
This type of investment plan allows an individual to choose the option of receiving an income for the rest of their life. Therefore, you can choose this option when purchasing your variable annuity, and once you start withdrawing funds, you can receive these payments for as long as you live.
Also, a variable annuity is kept in a different sub-account that protects it from creditors, therefore, this type of investment will help you as the investor to protect your assets.
This type of investment also has a death benefit, meaning that the investor’s beneficiary can receive payments even after the investor has passed away.
However, there are some disadvantages that are associated with this type of annuity. The first disadvantage is that the individual cannot withdraw funds from a variable annuity before the age of fifty nine and a half unless they do not mind paying a ten per cent penalty to the federal government.
The second disadvantage is that once you start withdrawing, your withdrawals will be charged an income tax which is more expensive than if they were charged for capital gains.
The other disadvantage is the ‘surrender charges’ that are charged if the individual chooses to start withdrawing early, and this percentage usually decreases until it stops applying once the surrender period ends.
A variable annuity also has a lot of charges, and it is important for the investor to be familiar with all the charges and fees before they invest. Charges are different depending on the insurance company that one chooses to purchase from, and therefore this can determine which insurance company you opt for.
A variable annuity involves a lot of risk, and the investor should be prepared to lose in case their investments do not perform well. However, this can also mean that there is the potential for a lot of gain in case their sub-accounts perform well. Therefore, the investor should always be ready as the axe may fall on either side.
It is important for the investor to carefully consider the benefits as well as the disadvantages when deciding whether a variable annuity is best for them.