Do You Get Your Principal Back from an Annuity?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Deferred Fixed or Fixed Indexed Annuity

  • Principal Return: Yes, after the surrender period.
  • Details: You will receive your principal back once the surrender period ends. This period is a set time frame during which withdrawing funds can result in penalties.

Period-Certain Annuity

  • Principal Return: Yes, over time.
  • Details: Your principal is paid back to you over a specified period. If you live beyond this period, payments might stop even if you haven’t received all your principal back.

Life-Only Annuity

  • Principal Return: No.
  • Details: In a life-only annuitization payout, payments are made for the duration of your life. Once you pass away, the payments stop, which may be before you’ve received your entire principal back.


The return of principal from an annuity depends on the type of annuity you have. Deferred fixed or fixed indexed annuities return the principal after the surrender period, while period-certain annuities pay back the principal over time. However, with a life-only annuity, there’s no guarantee of getting your principal back. Understanding your annuity type is crucial in anticipating the return on your investment.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

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

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