Retirement Answer Man

You may still have some questions about annuities so in this episode I answer your annuity questions. We have had several listeners ask some great questions which will help clarify how annuities work. After diving deep into annuities during this 5-week long month, we can all look forward to the next series where you will learn how to figure out who you will be in retirement. But before that, listen to this episode to get all of your annuity questions answered. 

Why can’t people just self-annuitize?

Ryan asks: why don’t individuals self-annuitize by using the IRS required minimum distribution (RMD) tables. This way they can keep control of their assets with the additional benefit of being able to leave the assets as an inheritance. 

This is actually a great idea and the idea that the IRS has behind the RMD. The primary difference between this example and an annuity is the risk factor. In an annuity, the risk has been removed in exchange for your loss of control of assets. So in this example, you would still maintain control of the assets but you would still need to factor in market risk and execution risk. Would you prefer to use your IRA in this way or get an annuity?

Do RMD’s play a factor in annuities?

Another listener is curious about the role that RMD’s play in annuities. Her husband recently bought an annuity and was told that he would have to begin the annuitization phase at age 70 ½ due to the RMD. 

The reason that he has this stipulation is that he must have bought the annuity using tax-deferred assets. If you have other tax-deferred assets you could postpone the annuitization period as long as you are still taking the RMD from other sources. If you have bought an annuity, did you use pre-tax or post-tax assets?

Why do insurance companies handle annuities, and how do they make money?

Insurance companies handle annuities instead of banks or investment firms because they are pooling risk from a large group of individuals to spread the risk in a similar way as that of an insurance policy. But the insurance company makes money much like a bank. They collect money from thousands of individuals and then they are able to invest it and earn a larger percentage than that of their policy payout. It’s like you going and buying a cd. It is important to remember that an annuity shouldn’t be seen as an investment but rather as a pre-purchased pension. 

What if you don’t want to know all the details surrounding annuities?

One listener thinks that annuities sound like an excellent option for her retirement but she doesn’t want to know about the fees and charges. With an annuity, it is important not just to read but also understand the contract which is no easy task. The way the contracts are written could cause you to accidentally break the contract if you aren’t careful. If you aren’t looking to be swamped by details, a fixed annuity is much more straight forward than a variable annuity. 

If you are considering an annuity you need to first think about your overall retirement strategy. Let the process drive decision making. Consider why you are interested in annuities. Are you looking to insure longevity risk, simplify your financial life, or buy a pension? Remember that you are not buying an investment. So what do you think of annuities? Do they seem like a good option for you?



  • [2:18] Who are you going to be in retirement? 


  • [6:50] Why wouldn’t people just self-annuitize?
  • [8:55] Do RMD’s play a factor in annuities?
  • [10:54] Why do insurance companies handle annuities?
  • [13:40] What if you don’t want to know all the details surrounding annuities?
  • [16:06] Are insurance companies selling off their annuity lines because they feel they can’t be profitable?


  • [20:24] I am excited about next month’s series that focuses on who you will be in retirement


  • [21:14] Eat the frog - do the thing you don’t want to do first thing in the morning

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

BOOK - Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy

Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center


Direct download: RAM284.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT