Posted by Carmen Garcia

Breaking Down Deferred Variable Annuity

Breaking Down Deferred Variable Annuity

Variable annuities are packed with tax benefits which is why investors are in love with it. Until you take the money out, it will compound tax-free. The products are selling at the rate of $145 billion a year which are estimated by Limra (f.k.a. Life Insurance Marketing & Research Association). 

Variable annuities are mostly deferred. If you wish to invest $100,000 thru stocks or bonds from a fund; you’ll have to let the account build for a long time for about 15 years then after that certain years you can either cash out or convert the account into a stream lifetime income. 

Generally, you can get a “death benefit” as a tax shelter. This will be the assurance that if you die before cashing out or even converting to the said income stream, the heirs will automatically get back the sum which you put in.

In a nutshell, we can find things that make deferred annuities, alluring, and there are also five things that make them less advisable compared to a plain old taxable brokerage account.

The five reasons why we need not buy a deferred variable annuity are these:

  • Most annuities have expensive fees. It’s typical of the genre to have 1.5% a year which could easily mean you’re paying more than the taxes you actually owe. This also means even before you get hit by the delayed tax bill at the back end, you’re already losing ground.

  • The favorable tax rates on stocks you give up. The qualification for a low federal rate (0% to 20%) on dividends and long term capital gained was already stocks owned directly. Through an annuity, the stocks owned can get taxed at “ordinary” rates.

  • The step-up will be lost. The death gets “stepped up” in value with the assets you hold. Let’s say the worth is $120,000 and you decided to invest $100,000 in stock, the gain both heirs will get which is $20,000 will be income-tax free. The same stocks owned via an annuity throw which is $20,000 is the ordinary income onto your heirs’ return. 

  • Without going anywhere near an annuity you can get a lot of deferrals. Into a stock index fund, you can put your $100,000.Upon hanging tight for 15 years, current dividends of income tax you are going to owe. Until you sell tax appreciation is deferred.

  • Annuities are illiquid. If you try to get at the money inside an annuity before you’re 59-1/2 you’ll owe a penalty tax on any gains. Let’s say within seven years (considered too early) you cashed in, you’ll have to pay the vendor for the penalty. A brokerage account has neither of these problems when stocks are held.

  • The said annuities are illiquid. Before you’re 59-½ you’ll owe a penalty tax on any gains if you try to get at the money inside an annuity. You will probably owe the vendor a penalty if you cash in too early (say, within seven years).

Are these five negatives understood by annuity buyers? Well, it’s safe to say they don’t. They may also have not clearly understood the worth of death benefits.

There are two investor fears of the death benefit: losing money in a market crash and dying young. Very valuable protection and so preservation against bear markets is a premature demise. The annuity policy doesn’t provide either of these things.The event and situation of a continuous occurrence of this inconvenience can only offer a benefit.  

Buying term life insurance if you have dependents is necessary. Put most of your $100,000 into zero-coupon Treasury’s due in 15 years and only silver into stocks if you can’t afford to lose money.

Is investing variable annuity for my IRA smart?

Typically Not. There is no such advantage to holding an annuity over a regular mutual fund. Even though that is a famous sales pitch by insurance agents. An annuity is an advantage because your money grows tax-deferred compared to any other insurance.

To fund an IRA, a variable annuity is usually a terribly expensive way. Insurance provisions may offer in an annuity, like death benefit for a specific beneficiary. Using the money saved to purchase a term life insurance policy is better in most cases sticking with low-cost IRA investments.



  • The performance of the prime folder of mutual funds must be selected by the annuity owner as well as the value of a variable annuity. 

  • Provide a guaranteed return and fixed annuities.

  • There is a risk that the account will fall in value and has a possibility of higher returns and greater income fixed annuities.

Carmen Garcia
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