Annuitization is the process of taking your annuity and converting it into regular periodic payments. These payments can last a set period or until the death of the annuitant. Annuitizing your annuity is a permanent decision.
- Written by Christian Simmons
Christian Simmons is a writer for RetireGuide and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). He covers Medicare and important retirement topics. Christian is a former winner of a Florida Society of News Editors journalism contest and has written professionally since 2016.Read More
- Edited ByLee Williams
Senior Financial Editor
Lee Williams is a professional writer, editor and content strategist with 10 years of professional experience working for global and nationally recognized brands. He has contributed to Forbes, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, AskMen.com, Electric Literature and The Wall Street Journal. His career also includes ghostwriting for Fortune 500 CEOs and published authors.Read More
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Ebony J. Howard, CPA
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- Published: July 22, 2021
- Updated: July 20, 2022
- 3 min read time
- This page features 2 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
What Is Annuitization?
Annuitization is a method of guaranteeing yourself a regular and set income over a specific period of time. When you annuitize, you are essentially turning your annuity into set payments that you will receive — ensuring that you will never run out of money or not have income coming in.
If you choose to go this route, you have reached the point where you want to start receiving money instead of accumulating or putting money into an annuity.
Annuitization can be useful as a part of retirement planning since you can receive these payments when you are out of the workforce and have no other reliable or consistent source of income.
How Does Annuitization Work?
If you annuitize your annuity and convert it into set payments, it is important to remember that only the annuitant can receive them. Regardless of the original value of the annuity, the stream of payments will continue to the annuitant until their death.
You can also structure the payments you’ll receive in different ways during the annuitization process. For example, period certain annuitization allows you to opt for payments across a different timespan instead of them lasting until death.
If the annuitant dies before the period ends, then the payments will go to a beneficiary. Alternatively, if the set period ends and the annuitant is still alive, the payments continue.
The period certain option offers protection against the possibility of the annuitant dying not long after the annuity was annuitized, costing you or your family the majority of your money.
When To Annuitize an Annuity
One of the main reasons to annuitize an annuity would be the guarantee yourself a set amount of income over a period of time, or even the rest of your life.
Annuitization ensures that, regardless of financial situations are hardships, you will always be guaranteed to have at least some money coming in each month.
Annuitization is often a permanent process, so it’s a big decision that you should make only when you have considered your present and future needs.
Once you have annuitized, you can’t go back and decide to withdraw the money that you put into the annuity. You will only receive it as payments over a set amount of time.
When you annuitize, it may differ depending on the type of annuity. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, annuities can be either immediate or deferred. An immediate annuity would be annuitized right away where a deferred annuity could be years later.
Also, without period certain, leftover money from your annuity will not go to the annuitant’s family when they die. Even with period certain, the payments only continue for the predetermined amount of time regardless of how much money was left over.
Annuitization does ensure that, regardless of financial situations or hardships, you will always be guaranteed to have some money coming in each month.
2 Cited Research Articles
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2021, August 25) Annuities. Retrieved from https://content.naic.org/cipr-topics/annuities
- Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. (n.d.). Annuities. Retrieved from https://doi.colorado.gov/insurance-products/life-insurance-annuities
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