Fixed annuities can be popular among seniors. They are easy to buy, you know exactly how long you must tie up your money, and the IRS will let you defer the income tax on the earnings.
But one point that may have stopped you from investing in an annuity is that some traditional fixed annuities do not lock in the interest rate for the duration of the contract. This means that after the initial period, which is typically one year, the return that the annuity company pays could possibly go higher or lower each year thereafter. However, there is a type of annuity that fixes the return for the entire contract’s term. This way you will know exactly how much you’ll earn while you own the contract–see the fixed annuity calculator for a projection.
CD-annuities (also known as multi-year guarantee annuities) provide level interest rates for the entire term so you won’t get any surprise notices during this time. You select the term, which generally ranges from three to ten years when you make the investment. At the end of the term, you will usually have a 30-day window to withdraw all or part of your money, or renew the contract for another multi-year period. The withdraw charges expire when the term ends.
As with traditional annuities, there are no income taxes on the earning while they remain in the account. Therefore, you won’t get a 1099 form to file with the IRS each year. Nor will you have to worry about income taxes if you renew the contract at the end of the term, and you get to name a beneficiary. This means that if you die while you own the CD-annuity, your heirs will quickly receive the account’s value without going through probate. Then they’ll have the option to take a lump sum payment, or a systematic payout.
Note that if you also get an annuity with a market value adjustment (MVA), and interest rates do decline, you can cash out your annuity prior to term and be rewarded for the MVA adjustment. Of course, always buy annuities with the intention of holding to term.