Annuity Payments Vs. Lifetime Withdrawals

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Hello, dear readers. We all want a comfortable financial future, especially when our regular paycheck stops. However, the financial jargon surrounding retirement planning can sometimes feel like an overwhelming jigsaw puzzle. Today, we’re diving deep into the difference between annuity payments and lifetime withdrawals. Whether you’re a novice to retirement planning or someone looking for a refresher, we’re here to break it down in an informative and relatable manner.

Confused About Annuities?

Are you new to annuities and unsure where to begin? Visit our Annuity Learning Lab for expert guidance and insights.

Annuity Payments: The Process of Annuitization

Annuity payments come from the process called ‘annuitization.’ When you annuitize your contract, you agree to turn your principal amount into a series of guaranteed payments.

Immediate vs. Deferred Annuities

Immediate annuities start payments immediately after a lump sum is paid, while deferred annuities start payments at a future date, allowing the principal to grow.

Example: Mary pays a lump sum for an immediate annuity at 65 and starts receiving payments immediately. Meanwhile, Sam buys a deferred annuity at 45 but chooses to receive payments from 65, letting his money grow for 20 years.

Lifetime Withdrawals: Understanding Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB)

Unlike annuitization, where you give up access to your principal for guaranteed payments, the Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit allows you to withdraw a certain percentage of your investment each year for life without giving up control over the original investment.

Flexibility and Control

With GLWB, even after withdrawals, the remaining amount can be passed to heirs or withdrawn (subject to conditions).

Example: Nathan has an investment with a GLWB feature. At 65, he starts withdrawing 5% annually. At 75, after withdrawing for ten years, he still has the remaining investment that can be passed on to his heirs or utilized as he wishes.

Key Differences to Remember

  • Commitment: Annuitization is a long-term commitment where you might not have access to your principal. In contrast, GLWB offers more liquidity.
    • Example: If Sarah annuitizes her investment, she cannot access the lump sum even in emergencies. But with GLWB, there’s a possibility of accessing the remaining amount.
  • Payment Amounts: Annuity payments are typically higher than GLWB because you’re trading the lump sum for guaranteed payments. Lifetime withdrawals might offer lesser amounts but with more control.
    • Example: Peter’s annuity might pay him $1,000 monthly after annuitization, while a GLWB might allow $800 monthly, with the flexibility to retain or pass on the balance.

Which One is Right for You?

Choosing between annuity payments and lifetime withdrawals depends on individual needs. If you value higher, guaranteed income and can forgo access to the principal, annuitization may be apt. However, if you value flexibility and want to leave something for the next generation, consider GLWB.

Example: Julia, who has other savings and values leaving an inheritance, may prefer GLWB. However, wanting the highest guaranteed monthly income, Mark might opt for annuitization.

Next Steps

The journey to understanding financial terms can be daunting, especially concerning our golden years. However, when armed with the correct information, decisions become more apparent. Whether you lean towards annuitization or the Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit, remember that both aim to provide financial security. Evaluate your priorities, consult a financial advisor, and make informed choices for a peaceful retirement. Your future self will thank you!

The Difference Between Annuity Payments And Lifetime Withdrawals

Request A Quote

Get help from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you withdraw money from a lifetime annuity?

Withdrawing money from a lifetime annuity is generally restricted, as these annuities are designed to provide regular income for life. Some contracts may offer limited withdrawal options, but these often come with penalties, reduced future payments, and potential tax implications.

Can a lifetime annuity run out of money?

A true lifetime annuity is designed to provide income for as long as you live, so it won’t run out of money. Payments continue until your death, regardless of market conditions or how long you live.

What is the difference between annuitization and annuity withdrawal?

Annuitization converts a lump sum into a series of fixed payments for life or a set period, offering a guaranteed income stream. Annuity withdrawal allows you to take out funds periodically without a fixed schedule, risking the depletion of the account. Both methods access funds in an annuity.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

Scroll to Top