Retirement Answer Man

Do you know the annuity basics? Over the next 4 episodes, we will explore annuities to see if they have a place in your retirement journey. We’ll discover how they work and if they can help you rock retirement all the way into your 80’s, 90’s, and beyond. On this episode, we’ll start from the beginning and explore our own biases and then cover the annuity basics. By the end of this series, you can decide whether annuities are the right choice for you. Are you ready to get your financial geek on? Strap on your headphones and get ready to explore annuity basics so you can rock retirement.

Annuities: love them or hate them?

Just like in politics, finance has its own polarized camps of thinking. There is an active management camp and a passive management camp. The passive camp says that lower cost is always better and the active camp says the opposite is true. Annuities also have their own love them or hate them camps. Before we begin to have a discussion on annuities it’s important to acknowledge your own biases. I want you to come to this discussion with an open mind. Many of us use positional thinking and believe there are only 2 sides of the coin. But the downside to positional thinking there is that no curiosity remains to explore other ideas. Over the next 4 episodes try to remain open to critical discussion so that we can start a dialogue about annuities. 

Understanding annuity basics

An annuity is a contract that you make with an insurance company. When considering an annuity it is important to read and understand the prospectus. The details are extremely complicated, not just for the layman but for financial advisors as well. Every insurance company is different and so are the features and the contracts they offer. When it comes to taxes, annuities can be tricky. You’ll want to consult your tax advisor before locking yourself into an annuity. The most important consideration is that the contract controls everything. 

Annuities have 2 phases

The 2 phases to an annuity are the accumulation phase and the annuititzation phase. The accumulation period is the period in which the money that you put in is being put to work. The annuitization period is when you start to receive payments which typically occur monthly until the time of death. There is often a death benefit in the case of unexpected death if you are to pass away before the annuitization period begins. 

What are the 3 types of annuities?

  1. A Fixed Annuity earns a fixed interest rate that is predetermined. The payments will be fixed when you annuitize. These can include 2 types: an immediate annuity which starts right away or a deferred annuity. The deferred annuity starts at a later date at which time you can decide to take it all back or get an income stream from the money invested.
  2. A Variable Annuity is less secure and has a menu of investment options similar to mutual funds. These go up and down with the performance of the investment. These have higher fees and your annuity payments can vary based on performance. 
  3. An Equity-Indexed Annuity has money invested in a fixed account. You could earn additional interest based on the contract. 

The potential benefits of annuities are tax deferral, guaranteed income stream, and creditor protection. They guarantee against loss and income. Over the next few episodes, we will explore whether they are worth the cost of the extra fees, the time costs, and the lack of flexibility. Be sure to listen as we dive into the question of annuities with an engineering approach to see if annuities would be a good tool for you to use to rock your retirement.



  • [2:55] Annuities: love them or hate them?
  • [8:10] My feelings on annuities


  • [12:33] What is an annuity?
  • [22:00] What types of annuities are there?


  • [28:47] How are you doing with your chosen word of the year?


  • [31:13] Identify a bias you have

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Episode 252

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: RAM280.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT