If you’re considering an annuity as a vehicle to help you grow your savings or provide a steady stream of income, it’s important to understand your options. While annuities can be a good low-risk investment, they haven’t always been the most convenient option for self-directed investors. That’s because up until recently, annuities had to be purchased through an agent, but changing technology is making it easier for investors to buy them directly and may reduce costs in the process.
The Changing Landscape of Annuities
Annuities have historically provided a steady stream of income for those looking to supplement their income in retirement or grow their savings. Despite their benefits, they’ve often been considered a more complex investment and have typically been associated with confusing fees or features. But simpler product designs and innovative tech solutions are making them more accessible to investors looking to diversify their portfolios. In turn, this is leading to increased transparency and helping consumers to become more informed about their options.
While certain annuity products still need to be purchased through a broker, others (including certain types of deferred annuities) can be purchased directly through an online platform. This makes it easier for consumers to buy them directly. And since all annuity products continue to be regulated by state insurance laws, online annuities are subject to the same standards as traditional ones, ensuring that they do not carry additional risks.
Significance for Investors
In addition to reducing the fees associated with annuities, the changing landscape is also making it easier for self-directed investors to price and purchase annuities. This includes having increased access to information about rates, payout options and guarantees. It also means that investors who may not have considered annuities as a worthwhile option in the past are now able to access them more easily and include them to their portfolios.
Combined with additional features including increased flexibility and higher annual percentage yield (APY) rates, online annuities are able to offer investors a low-risk alternative to other long-term investment options. With a deferred online annuity product, this may mean a higher rate of return than savings vehicles such as certificates of deposit (CDs) or high-yield savings accounts, and a way to grow your savings while also protecting them.
The Bottom Line
Choosing an investment vehicle ultimately comes down to your financial needs and long-term goals. In an increasingly volatile market, assessing your risk tolerance and being aware of your options is also important. In order to determine which investment options are right for you, it’s crucial to have a clear sense of how a particular investment will fit into your overall portfolio. For self-directed investors with an investment horizon of three to 10 years, annuities may help to round out a balanced portfolio and could be a great option.