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Global Work Glossary

Lost in a maze of global employment jargon? Find your way out with our handy collection of work and HR terminology

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# A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z


What is an Annuity?

An annuity is a financial product that pays out a fixed stream of payments to an individual, typically used as an income stream for retirees. It’s a contract between an individual and an insurance company where the individual makes a lump sum payment or series of payments and, in return, receives regular disbursements beginning either immediately or at some point in the future.

Types and Mechanisms

There are several types of annuities, each catering to different financial needs and goals. Immediate annuities start paying out soon after the initial investment is made, whereas deferred annuities begin payments at a future date. Annuities can be fixed, providing regular, guaranteed payouts, or variable, where payments depend on the performance of the investment options chosen.

Advantages and Considerations

Annuities provide a steady income, which can be crucial for retirement planning, offering a sense of security against outliving one’s savings. They can also be structured to provide payments for a set period or the lifetime of the annuitant. However, annuities are generally illiquid investments with substantial fees and potential penalties for early withdrawal, making them less flexible than other investment types.

Role in Financial Stability

In financial planning, annuities are important for their role in providing a stable income, which is particularly valuable during retirement. They help mitigate risks such as market volatility and the uncertainty of life expectancy. For individuals seeking predictable and reliable payments in their post-work years, annuities can be an effective component of a comprehensive retirement strategy.

Effectively integrating annuities into a financial plan requires understanding the specific features and costs associated with them, as well as how they fit with other retirement and investment strategies. This knowledge helps ensure that annuities contribute positively to long-term financial stability and goals.

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