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Can I Buy Annuities Without Using An Agent?

Stan The Annuity Man

Question: I am seriously considering adding an annuity to my portfolio, but after a few lackluster meetings with local agents, is there a way for me to purchase annuities direct from the annuity company?  I would like to own an annuity, but not use an agent if possible.  Dwayne from Richmond, Virginia.

Answer: I am one of those “dreaded” annuity agents, but I fully understand your question and am getting versions of this request on a weekly basis.  I think people like you are getting tired of the typical one size fits all high pressure approach that too many annuity agents use.  It’s an unfortunate and ongoing problem within the annuity industry because annuities are fantastic transfer of risk strategies when allocated properly within a customized portfolio.

To answer your question about buying annuities direct, the short answer is yes……kind of.  Let me explain.  Currently, you can purchase no load variable annuities from places like Fidelity and Vanguard and annuity carriers like Jefferson National, Ameritas, and Pacific Life.  The best of that bunch, in my opinion, is Jefferson National.  As of today, there aren’t any no load fixed indexed annuities, but I see that changing very soon and personally know of a couple of companies working on that type of offering.

Unlike most in the annuity industry, I actually see no load annuities as a healthy direction for this product category.  The easy correlations to point out would be what happened when stock transaction costs went from hundreds of dollars to less than $10, and when mutual funds started offering no load versions as well.  The same trend will happen with annuities in the near future.  Simplicity and transparency will always be demanded by the consumer at the end of the day.  Annuities are the next product category to fall in line, and I think all annuity products (load & no load) will improve because of this trend.

As a caveat, Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIA’s) and Longevity Annuities (DIA’s) are no load (i.e. no fee), but you also give up liquidity with these types of transfer of risk income solutions…so I’m not sure that you can fully classify them as no load annuities.

Other than the selected variable annuities I listed above, the no load annuity shelf is pretty bare……for now.  In the interim, depending on the specific type of annuity that fits your situation the best, you might have to hold your nose and use an agent.  Hopefully, you can find someone in your area that has your best interests at the forefront of their recommendations.

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About the Author:

Stan The Annuity Man is a nationally recognized annuity expert and annuity critic, and has been called the national consumer advocate for annuities… and a walking middle finger of annuity truth.  He is a weekly RetireMentor columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s, and is the exclusive annuity contributor for  His highly acclaimed book, The Annuity Stanifesto, is a top seller in its category, and is known as the go to resource for all things annuity.

Stan The Annuity Man has clients nationwide, and is considered one of the top independent annuity agents in the country.  You can learn more at


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  • Jeff Ahern says:

    There several ways to buy an Annuity without an Agent, without loads, without the market being tied to it .
    You do not have to buy a variable Annuity, get rid of risk, fee sand M and E charges. You can get above 5percent all day long. You can have your choice of income

  • Jacqueline W Ward says:

    I think having to use an agent for a spia is a rip off. The commission is from 1% to 3%, which, say for instance, on a $100,000.00 purchase is from $1,000.00 – $3,000.00 out of the consumer’s pocket for a product that needs no real guidance. You just need to know the rate and term to know what you monthly payout should be. Also, every time I have had a quote, the amount quoted per month is exceedingly lower than the amount shown by on line calculators when the principal, rate and term are entered, much lower than just an adjustment for a one time 1-3 percent. What’s up with that?

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