What is a Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit (GMIB)?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Understanding GMIB

A Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit (GMIB) is a type of rider or add-on in variable annuities. It guarantees the annuitant (the person who owns the annuity) a specific minimum level of income regardless of the performance of the annuity’s investments.

Gmib Annuities

How Does GMIB Work?

  1. Investment Phase: The annuitant invests in a variable annuity, which is allocated to various investment options.
  2. Guarantee Phase: If the investment performs poorly, the GMIB ensures that the annuitant receives a predetermined minimum income.
  3. Payout Phase: The annuitant can activate the income stream at a specified age, usually after a deferral period.
Gmib Annuity

Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit Calculator

A guaranteed minimum income benefit (GMIB) calculator is a tool used to estimate the minimum income a person can receive from an annuity with a GMIB rider. It considers the investment amount, age, and other relevant information to estimate the guaranteed minimum income received in retirement.

To use a GMIB calculator, the user will typically need to input their age, the amount they plan to invest in the annuity, and the time to start receiving income. The calculator will then use the GMIB percentage rate to estimate the minimum income received.

Advantages of GMIB Annuity

  • Income Security: Provides a safety net against poor market performance.
  • Retirement Planning: Aids in predictable retirement income planning.
  • Flexibility: Offers the potential for higher returns through market participation.

Disadvantages of GMIB Annuity

Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit

Example of GMIB Annuity

Suppose an individual invests $100,000 in a variable annuity with a GMIB. The GMIB guarantees a 5% minimum annual return for the purpose of calculating the income base. After 10 years, even if the actual account value due to market performance is only $90,000, the income base for calculating the annuity payments would be at least $150,000 (5% compounded annually on $100,000).

Comparison of GMIB Annuity vs. Standard Variable Annuity

FeatureGMIB AnnuityStandard Variable Annuity
Income GuaranteeYes, as per the GMIB termsNo guarantee on income
Investment RiskMitigated by income guaranteeBorne entirely by the annuitant
Potential for GrowthCapped by the terms of the GMIBHigher potential growth
CostHigher due to GMIB rider feesLower, no additional rider fees
ComplexityMore complex due to the GMIB provisionsSimpler structure
SuitabilitySuitable for risk-averse retireesSuitable for risk-tolerant investors
Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit (Gmib) And Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawl Benefit (Gmwb) Annuity


A Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit annuity offers a unique blend of income security and market participation. It’s particularly beneficial for those seeking a stable income stream in retirement while still having some exposure to the potential growth of the markets. Understanding both its advantages and complexities is crucial for making an informed decision. If you’re considering a GMIB annuity, weigh your financial goals, risk tolerance, and retirement needs carefully.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is GMIB?

GMIB, or guaranteed minimum income benefit, is a type of benefit that can be attached to an annuity. Essentially, it guarantees that the annuitant (the person who owns the annuity) will receive a minimum amount of income from the annuity, regardless of the performance of the underlying investments.

How does GMIB work?

When an annuity is purchased with a GMIB attached, the annuity owner is essentially purchasing a promise from the insurance company that they will receive a minimum income in retirement. This amount is typically calculated based on a percentage of the original investment and is often adjusted for inflation over time. If the investments in the annuity perform well and the actual income generated is higher than the guaranteed minimum, the annuitant will receive the higher amount. Nevertheless, even if the investments don’t perform as expected and there is a decrease in income below the promised minimum amount, one’s annuitant will still receive that minimal sum.

GMIB vs. Other Benefits

GMIB is just one of many benefits that can be attached to an annuity. Other widespread benefits include guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB), guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit (GMAB), and guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB). Each benefit offers different advantages and disadvantages depending on the individual’s financial goals and risk tolerance.

What Are GMIB Riders?

In addition to the essential GMIB benefit, many annuities offer riders that can be attached to customize the product further. Some famous GMIB riders include step-up riders, which allow the guaranteed minimum income amount to increase over time, and spousal continuation riders, which ensure that the annuitant’s spouse will continue to receive income after the annuitant’s death.

What is a guaranteed minimum account value benefit?

GMAVB is a type of benefit that can be added to an annuity. It ensures that the annuity account will not lose any of its principal investment at a future time, regardless of the performance of the underlying investments.

What is the difference between GMWB and GMIB?

GMWB guarantees a minimum withdrawal amount from an annuity, while GMIB guarantees a minimum income amount in retirement. GMWB allows annuity holders to withdraw a set percentage of their investment each year, regardless of market performance. GMIB provides a fixed income each year, even if the annuity’s investments decrease in value.

What does a guaranteed minimum death benefit mean?

A guaranteed minimum death benefit (GMDB) is a type of benefit that can be added to an annuity. It provides a guaranteed minimum payout to the beneficiary upon the annuitant’s death, regardless of the performance of the underlying investments. Essentially, it ensures that the beneficiary will receive at least the amount of the annuity owner’s original investment or a predetermined percentage of that investment, even if the investments within the annuity have decreased in value.

Is guaranteed income from an annuity a good idea?

Guaranteed income from an annuity can be a good idea for those seeking a stable, predictable income stream in retirement. It ensures regular payments, regardless of market fluctuations, providing financial security. However, it might not suit everyone, as it often involves trade-offs like reduced liquidity and potentially lower returns.

What is the guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit annuity?

The guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB) annuity is a rider or feature that ensures a policyholder can withdraw a specific percentage of their total investment annually, regardless of market performance. It safeguards against losing the initial investment, balancing investment growth potential and income stability.

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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