In Money Magazine’s Ask the Expert section, Walter Updegrave advises a couple to “Bridge income gaps with an annuity.” While they asked him how much of the husband’s 401k should be transferred to an annuity, there wasn’t quite an easy answer for that since everyone’s situation is different. The most important thing to do when considering your annuity purchase for retirement is to figure out how much you’ll need to cover after factoring in your pension/s and your social security payments. You’ll have to determine how much income you will need in retirement and compare that with the income you’ll have coming in from pensions and social security. Whatever extra income you need to cover can be met with the guaranteed lifetime income of an annuity.
The author recommends the use of immediate annuities to bridge this gap, although there are numerous types of annuities to choose from. Your best bet is to speak with an expert and find out which type of annuity will work for your specific needs. Immediate annuities pay you guaranteed payments over you or your spouse’s lifetime in exchange for an upfront lump sum payment to an insurance company. Your payments are based on your age and the current interest rate. Since rates are typically low right now, it could be in your benefit to purchase your annuities over the next few years instead of all right now. Many people are purchasing a variable annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit for a similar retirement purchase. While they may not work for everyone because of the fees and guarantees associated, the products can be another successful retirement annuity.