What is an annuity contract? Three things you should know.

A man and a woman go over an annuity contract on a laptop.

A firm grasp of annuity contracts will help you determine if they’re right for your future financial needs.

Whether you’re nearing retirement age or simply exploring options for your financial future, understanding annuities is essential. Annuity contracts, often regarded as unique financial instruments, offer a blend of benefits and risks that can greatly impact an individual’s financial security. Thinking of investing in one? Read on to learn about some of the benefits (and risks) of an annuity contract.

What is an annuity contract in general?

What’s an annuity contract? In the simplest terms, an annuity is a type of legal document- a financial contract - between a person and an insurance company that provides retirement income or death benefits. A firm grasp of annuity contracts will help you determine if they’re right for your future financial needs.

How does an annuity contract work?

An annuity contract functions through individuals making payments to an insurance company that is typically in the form of a lump sum or periodic contributions. In exchange, the insurance company commits to providing regular payments to the individual, either immediately or at a predetermined future date. The duration of these payments can vary, ranging from a set period to the recipient’s lifetime – this depends on the specific type of annuity selected.

The different types of annuity contracts.

Fixed, indexed, and variable are the basic types of annuities, and each has a unique risk-benefit ratio.

The benefits and risks of an annuity contract.

One big benefit provided by an annuity contract is that there is no annual contribution limit — meaning you can put away large amounts of money and defer paying taxes. The counterbalancing factor is that when you do start taking distributions, they’re taxed as ordinary income.

All investments include some level of risk, so the financial strength of the insurance company issuing the annuity should definitely be considered before you purchase a contract. Ensure the stability of the insurer as it can directly impact their ability to fulfill payment commitments, which in turn protects your financial security during retirement.

How to avoid fraud with an annuity contract.

Because an annuity can have significant financial implications, be sure to use a secure, legally binding electronic signature software to avoid fraud. Some common and persuasive techniques used by fraudsters to sell annuities include:

What happens at the end of an annuity contract?

At the end of an annuity contract, you have several choices. You can rollover the funds into another annuity to continue tax-deferred growth and potentially secure a new income stream. You can also initiate withdrawals, either systematically or as a lump sum. Make sure to always be aware of possible tax implications. The specific choices and tax considerations depend on your contract’s terms, so be sure to assess your options and consult a financial advisor to align your decision with your financial objectives.

As with any investment, seek the guidance of a knowledgeable expert or reputable broker. If you’re looking for the best in modern authentication tools, PDF encryption, and e-signature software, explore what more you can do with Adobe Acrobat.