DEFINITION of 'Whole Life Annuity'

A financial product sold by insurance companies that pays monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual payments to a person for as long as he or she lives. Annuities are usually purchased by investors who want to secure some type of income stream during retirement. The accumulation period occurs as payments are being made by the buyer of the contract to the insurance company; the liquidation period occurs when the insurance company makes payments to the annuitant.

Also called life annuity.

BREAKING DOWN 'Whole Life Annuity'

Annuities can be structured to make payments for a fixed amount of time, commonly 20 years, or make payments for as long as the annuitant and his or her spouse is alive. Actuaries work with the insurance companies to apply mathematical and statistical models to assess risk when determining policies and rates.

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