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Thinking about Buying an Annuity… But Afraid to Tie up Your Money?

John P. Grimes

We’ve all heard the expression ‘have your cake and eat it too’. It’s a pretty simple dilemma; if you have your cake and eat it… then it’s gone. If you don’t eat the cake, you still have it but don’t get to enjoy it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it both ways? It’s like being rewarded without taking any risk or getting something nice without having to pay for it.  So you’ve done some research about fixed indexed annuities and you find there are many things you like such as: No risk of losing your principal, sharing in a percentage of the market index if it goes up but not if it goes down, getting a bonus for investing, tax deferral on earnings, riders to protect you if you need long term care or want income you cannot outlive. Unfortunately, your research also taught you that all those benefits you love come with a price: Liquidity.

The insurance companies know they can only afford to offer these benefits if they eliminate the risk that you will pull your money out before they can earn a profit. This is done by imposing surrender charges which are deducted from your account if you pull the money out too soon or take too much yearly. Most annuity policies allow free withdrawals, typically 10% per year until the surrender period has passed. After that, you have full access to your money without penalty. One thing to keep in mind, if you take money out before you reach age 59 ½, Uncle Sam imposes a 10% penalty. Surrender periods can be as short as 5 years or some even lasting longer than 10 year. We all know a lot can change over 10 years, so the decision to commit to an investment that ties up your money for so long is one that shouldn’t be made without carefully considering the costs and benefits. When clients ask me if buying an annuity is a good investment, I always tell them it’s not always the right solution but when it fits there’s nothing better.

So when it comes to annuities, why can’t we have it both ways: Great benefits and access to our money without penalty? Well now you can… sort of! Recently, a handful of companies began offering annuities with ‘Return of Premium’ (ROP) riders. Basically, if you decide you don’t want to hold onto the annuity until the surrender period expires, you can get your money back – no questions asked. Like everything else in life this rider comes with a cost. You will get your principal back but not the earnings. Where I see this ROP rider being a good option is if you have money set aside that you want to access if life throws you a curve but you don’t plan on needing the money otherwise. If you would like more detailed information on annuities with ROP riders or to see if it’s a good fit for you, just click on the links below to send me an email or visit my website to get a free copy of the e-book, ‘Savior Retirement’.

To learn more from this annuity professional, click here (John P. Grimes).

About the Author:

John founded Nicholas Financial Group in 1997 as an independent planning firm. We strive to help our clients achieve their financial goals by offering prudent advice and easy to understand solutions to their financial problems. Consider us a guide through the confusing maze of financial products and services.

We specialize in using conservative strategies to grow and protect the assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate while reducing risk. We’ll also show you how to generate guaranteed lifetime income and efficiently transfer your assets. If you would like to contact John, call him at (508) 881-8500 or send an email to


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