An Easy Guide To Understanding How Annuities Work

Annuities are an excellent means of retirement planning for those who are looking to accumulate a significant amount of money by the time they retire. This guide will give you information about how they work. It can be difficult to determine which annuity is the best for you, but with the information in this guide, you can make an informed decision.

What Is An Annuity?

An annuity is a type of investment vehicle that works by paying out periodic payments. When you do your research, you’ll learn among other things that you can purchase an annuity on your own, but they are typically sold through financial advisors. Further, you can learn more here about how the amount you receive in each payment is determined by a variety of factors including interest rate changes, market fluctuations, and the type of annuity you choose.

The Types of Annuities

One of the first things to learn about annuities is that generally there are two different types. You can choose to purchase a fixed annuity or a variable annuity. 

Fixed Annuities 

Fixed annuities work by guaranteeing you a specific interest rate for the contract, which is often higher than what you could earn elsewhere. One thing to know about fixed annuities is that they are very safe investments with guaranteed rates, but your money will only grow at the predetermined interest rate. This means that your annuity might not grow as much as it could elsewhere. This is why they are considered safe investments.

To illustrate it, you could put $20,000 into a fixed annuity and then get back $1,200 per year for five years. You’ll also likely pay a commission every time you buy or sell an annuity. However, if your money grows very well in the market, it might become difficult to stay within the predetermined rates offered by the annuity.

Variable Annuities 

Variable annuities work by providing you with both guaranteed rates of return and potential growth in your money’s value that’s tied to the performance of the market. They are considered riskier than fixed annuities, but they might also pay out larger returns over time.

To illustrate, you could put $20,000 into a variable annuity and then get back an initial investment of $18,000. This might be your guaranteed rate of return on this particular annuity. However, if the market performs well over time, you could potentially grow your money more than what’s guaranteed by the interest rate you receive with this product.

Hybrid Annuities 

Hybrid annuities are a mix of the two different types of annuities. They use some aspects of each type. You can receive an interest rate with this type, but your money is not guaranteed. However, it will be protected against market fluctuations instead of fluctuating with them. In many cases, you can have a portion of your investment being put towards guaranteed returns and another part being put towards market returns/growth.

How Market Fluctuations Affect Annuities 

You will also benefit from understanding how market fluctuations affect annuity prices. This is important to do because it can help you make a better decision with your own annuities. In any case, there are two main types of investments that typically affect your annuity’s return – listed and non-listed.


If an annuity’s return is listed, then it will move by the same amount that other investments move. This means that if you want your annuity to stay at $100,000 in value while the stock market drops by 20%, you’ll need to put $120,000 into it. Variable annuities are not affected by this type of fluctuation.

Non-Listed investments 

If your annuity’s return is influenced by non-listed investments, it means that those fluctuate independently of each other. This means that if the stock market goes up 25% while the value of your annuity moves by 15%, then you will end up with a return of $100,000.

How Interest Rates Affect Annuities  

You might also benefit from understanding how interest rates affect annuity returns. To illustrate, if you put $20,000 into an annuity and receive a 5% return while another person puts in the same amount of money and receives a 10% return, then you would win out because your rate of return is higher. In this case, your money would continue to grow by 5% every year and this would be guaranteed. However, if you put in $20,000 and receive a 5% return while another person puts in the same amount of money and receives a 2% return, then your returns would actually be lower than those of the other person. This is because your rate of return is lower than theirs. 

Furthermore, this illustrates the importance of evaluating your annuity’s current interest rate when you are deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

The Different Kinds of Annuities

Another thing to learn about annuities is that there are a number of different kinds. Here are the most common kinds:

Health Annuity 

A health annuity is something that you purchase in order to get income through the rest of your life if you get sick or injured. You don’t get this income until after you’re sick. This type of annuity allows for flexibility because you can convert it into a long-term care insurance plan at any time without triggering taxes. This kind of insurance is especially useful for people who are self-employed because they do not receive disability benefits from their employers.

Royalty Annuity 

A Royalty annuity is an annuity that receives money from royalties based on the production and distribution of oil, gas, and other resources. This type of product can help to provide income that’s supplemental or part-time during your retirement. You can either choose to receive payments based on production, or you can elect for an upfront cash payment.

To illustrate how these things work, consider that the oil and gas royalty annuity is a great choice for people who have accumulated some wealth from an existing business. In fact, this product would be most effective when you’re receiving royalties from patents or intangible property during your retirement.


Annuities are an investment vehicle that can help to provide you with income at some point in the future. Not only will this help you if you get sick or injured, but it will also allow your money to grow faster than it would if it were held in a savings account. In any case, there are several types of annuities, and knowing how each one of them works can help you to make a better decision. Furthermore, understanding how interest rates and market fluctuations affect annuities will allow you to use your money more effectively over time.

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