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What is a Deferred Variable Annuity?

What is a Deferred Variable Annuity?

A deferred variable annuity is a contract with an annuity provider to pay a certain amount for some period or lifetime. The annuity provider deposits the money in any investment portfolio with many investment options such as stocks, bonds, stable income value mutual funds, money market funds, etc. The payment of profit and loss depends on the portfolio. 

How Deferred Annuities Work

The program is fixed, variable, and indexed. The fixed scheme pays a specific guaranteed return on your investment; the indexed returns depend on the market index like S&P 500. While the variable annuity works on the movement of the mutual fund portfolio or sub-accounts as directed by the annuitant. Remember that any program you choose is subject to tax on withdrawals, lump sum, or becomes an income account. Therefore, the account faces an income tax rate. The account owner uses the accumulative phase to donate to the account and waits for the payout phase to start receiving income. 

Accumulation and Payout Phases

The two phases – are the accumulation and payout phases. 

The program offers you payments after a while, but if you choose an immediate annuity, then you can skip the accumulation phase. Your contract may increase in the first phase after making a contribution or deposit to get an annuity. The best option is a fixed-interest account with a guaranteed minimum interest rate. The money will increase if the funds do well or decrease. You can move your fund between accounts tax-deferred but may attract charges from the annuity provider. 

The payout phase is when the contribution is ready for payment. The payment is in lump sum or stream of payments plus interest. In addition, you can decide how long you want the payment for life or the life of you and your spouse or beneficiary. Depending on the investment portfolio, you can choose an adjustable or fixed pay. 

Who Should Choose a Variable Annuity?

A deferred variable annuity is suitable for people looking for a huge payout but comes with high market risk. The options differ from retirement investments causing massive tax-deferred growth, especially an account with maximum yearly 401 (k) contributions. In addition, the program is good for young investors with longer time and high-risk tolerance. The scheme also gives you more control over where to invest. 

Variable Annuity Pros and Cons

Here are the ups and downs of a deferred variable annuity. 


  1. A deferred variable annuity is tax-free on investment interest and exempt on income and withdrawal, including retirement accounts.

  2. You can decide on the investment payout amount.

  3. Your beneficiary is subject to the death benefit.

  4. Debt collectors and creditors cannot touch your funds.


  1. They have a higher risk of investment.

  2. You can’t take out money without paying a surrender fee and taking funds out of the account before 59½ is subject to a 10% tax penalty.

  3. The account attracts hefty fees.

Death Benefits

Death benefits come with variable annuities. Before indulging in the contract, you are allowed to make a death benefit portion for the beneficiary on the contract before the annuitant dies. Providers usually put the death benefit as the premium amount or current value of the contract. The insurance provider uses the greater amount minus withdrawal and fees. In addition, some providers have additional death benefits such as investment performance or minimum increase.

The bottom line is a deferred variable income earner needs an understanding of the expenses, risks, and formulas for calculating investment losses or gains. The program is complicated, so it is important to have an agent explain the scheme. There are more benefits, like inventory management fees, administrative fees, mortality fees, and additional riders incurred on the scheme. 



Dennis Jao
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