When to buy an annuity is an important decision you need to factor into your retirement plan, but it is not as dramatic as you might think.
A Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA) is a type of insurance designed to provide you with a predictable monthly income for as long as you live. (Social Security is one type of annuity.) And, like any insurance policy, you need to decide when is a good time to buy one. plynty can help you through the decision-making process.
We think annuities become a more powerful financial planning tool as you age:
Under age 60: You simply need to be aware of SPIAs as a possible future addition to your retirement plan. (We welcome you to stick around if you’d like to gain some advance knowledge. Otherwise, if you’re in this age group and hear a latte calling your name, we understand.)
Your 60s: During these years, social security payments usually kick in. You’re now gaining real-life experience with how well your retirement plan is working for you. Take an honest look at your plan and decide how much confidence you have. The average person will require more than their social security income to cover their basic expenses, and thus may benefit from another source of reliable income. Fine-tuning your plan is a natural part of your lifelong cashflow perspective.
Your 70s: Most retirees in good health should purchase a SPIA around this age. How much of an annuity? Start by answering a few key questions: how much does your retirement plan say you’ll need to cover basic living expenses? Are you concerned about running out of funds? Do you have other investments that you are confident will give you what you need, for as long as you need it?
Age 80+: After age 80, the decision to purchase a SPIA can be tricky. It isn’t a bad option; however, you should evaluate the rate of return for an SPIA against other investment benchmarks, such as the average return historically earned in the S&P 500. At this point, the annuity offers you a fixed income for life that can be counted on no matter how long you live. If you are in great health, the payoff is in the certainty of the income lasting as long as you do.
Of course, there are circumstances when it could make sense to purchase an annuity earlier in your life. For example, maybe you’d like to put as much of your retirement plan as you can on autopilot. Or knowing how much you have coming in for the rest of your life is your top concern. Any time you’d like to lock in some income, you can buy an annuity — your payout will likely be less than if you wait until a later age, but it will be more stable.
Including a SPIA in your financial plan can help reduce uncertainty, allowing you to better enjoy your retirement. Now that deserves a drumroll!