Annuity123 is dedicated to providing Americans with unbiased information about retirement, answering the tough questions you want to know.

With hundreds of articles on every retirement planning topic you can think of, peace of mind is just a click away.

High Income Tax Strategies with Low-Cost Variable Annuities

Jeremy Reif

In the technologically advanced age that we live in, why does every major insurance company have their advisor base-peddling their costly products? There are other options that cost significantly less, have better investment options, more investment options, no surrender penalties, and no trade costs. Then why is it almost never brought up in conversation by financial advisors? These large insurance companies don’t want the consumer to know the direction our industry is heading — fee-based.

There are several fee-based annuities available. They have been gaining traction by people who research accounts, custodians, and products prior to purchasing. With all of the rich content on the internet now, researchers can easily find blogs or articles just like this to help understand how the insurance industry works.

Let’s get back to the basics. What is the purpose of a present day annuity?

  1. As pensions are trending as a thing of the past, annuities were designed to provide income over the annuitant’s lifetime. The annuity became a personal pension replacement option for the self-employed or those without a pension. Annuitizing the money (to turn a lump sum into income), provides the annuitant with payments over their lifetime.
  2. Tax Benefits. Annuities were originally designed to provide tax benefits by deferring tax payments on non-qualified monies. As the money annuitizes (as described above), the annuitant’s payments would be part principal and part growth. This helps minimize taxes on the growth of the money over the annuitant’s lifetime, as well as by spreading taxes out over many years, potentially at a lower tax bracket.
  3. Deferring Tax. Annuities were typically for high-income earners and for people who have a significant amount of non-qualified money, or money that is taxable every year (checking, savings, CDs, brokerage accounts, etc.). Many look to defer paying current taxes. The Department of Labor (DOL) is cracking down on advisors moving money that is already in retirement accounts, which are already tax-deferred investments into annuities.

Over the last few decades, big insurance companies have added many bells and whistles to annuities as the industry evolved. As the insurance companies develop new products with features, the fees for those products increased. In order to market to retirees, the insurance companies needed a new product to attract them.

Since the DOL rules have gone into effect, those planning for retirement will be able to find lower-cost solutions and take more control of their money. With all of the new options available, it’s even more important to research each option to see if it aligns with your goals. The DOL is trying to make sure financial advisors put their client’s interest ahead of their own.

Many know the general rules to investing and how to play it safe:

  • Don’t spend more than 4% of the principal.
  • Invest your age in fixed income.

To simplify how some variable annuities, and their underlying benefits, work is very similar to the general rules to investing. The difference is that annuities are a pre-built product backed by the insurance company. The insurance company pre-determines the distribution percentage given to the annuitant, which is usually based on age and the benefits selected. Different companies offer variations on products for ways to grow and distribute, and the timeframe for all of the above. Variable annuities with benefits are typically higher-cost solutions compared to the general rule-of-thumb investing.

Statistics tell the story. The majority of investors and the advisors that sell these products tend to underperform the markets. The advisor gets a high commission and no incentive to meet and/or service clients, as they got paid up front and are moving on to their next sale. For high-cost solutions, little help and below average returns, the results can be less than desirable.

Fee-based annuities offer a way to get back to the basics and gain some control on investing. These annuities are a low-cost solution, stripped down from the bells and whistles, used for: income planning, tax management, and increased investment options. Consider adding the ability to have these fee-based annuities professionally managed and now results could go from being less than desirable to a winning solution.

About the Author:

Jeremy as an independent advisor who helps people navigate life by listening to what each client is aspiring to achieve financially.

For more information or an independent review of your current “buyout” feel free to contact Jeremy at or visit

Jeremy J. Reif is a Registered Representative of Retirement Wealth Advisors and offers securities through TCM Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC Disclaimer: Investment Advisory Services offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors, (RWA) a Registered Investment Advisor. Point Wealth Management and RWA are not affiliated. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, it is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that Point Wealth Management and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney.


Annuity123 does not offer insurance, investment, or tax advice.  You should always seek the guidance of qualified and licensed professionals concerning your personal insurance, investment, or tax matters.  Annuity123 is simply a platform allowing retirement planning professionals to help educate the community on various retirement planning topics.  Annuity123 does not directly support or take responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of the content displayed in the articles themselves or any feedback that may get added in the Comments section from the community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *