What is an Inflation-Protected Annuity and How Does It Work?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Understanding Inflation-Adjusted Annuities

An inflation-adjusted annuity, also known as an inflation-protected annuity or CPI annuity, is designed to help retirees maintain their purchasing power in the face of inflation. The payments from these annuities are adjusted based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation.

Inflation-Protected Annuity

How Inflation-Adjusted Annuities Work

  1. Initial Payment: The annuity starts with an initial payment.
  2. Adjustment Mechanism: Each year, the payment amount is adjusted based on the CPI.
  3. Protection Against Inflation: This ensures that the annuity payments keep pace with the cost of living.
Inflation-Protected Annuities

Annuitization Payments with a COLA Increase

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is another feature in some annuities to combat inflation.

  1. COLA Feature: COLA incrementally increases annuity payments over time.
  2. Fixed or Variable Increases: The increase can be a fixed percentage or tied to an inflation index like the CPI.
What Is A Inflation-Protected Annuity

Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawals with Increasing Income Options

These options offer a way to ensure income for life with the potential for increase.

  1. Guaranteed Income: Provides a fixed income for life.
  2. Increasing Income Options: Some plans allow for increasing withdrawals, which could be tied to inflation or other factors.


  • Year 1: Initial annuity payment of $1,000 per month.
  • Year 2: With 2% inflation, the payment increases to $1,020 per month.
Inflation Annuity

Advantages and Considerations

Benefits of Inflation-Protected Annuities

  • Protection against inflation: Inflation-protected annuities help retirees maintain the purchasing power of their retirement savings by adjusting payments to keep up with rising living costs.
  • Financial security: By ensuring that income keeps pace with inflation, these annuities provide retirees with a reliable source of income throughout their retirement years.

Limitations of Inflation-Protected Annuities

  • Lower initial payouts: These annuities often have lower starting payments than other annuity options to provide inflation protection.
  • Cap on indexed payments: Although inflation-protected annuities adjust payments based on inflation, there is typically a cap on how much these payments can rise. This cap limits how much annuitants can benefit from increased living costs.

Comparison of Annuity Types

Annuity TypeInflation AdjustmentInitial PaymentLong-Term Benefit
Standard AnnuityNoneHigherDecreases in Real Value
Inflation-Adjusted AnnuityCPI-LinkedLowerMaintains Real Value
Annuity with COLA IncreaseFixed % or CPIModeratePotentially Increases
What Are Inflation-Protected Annuities


Inflation-adjusted annuities, annuities with COLA increases, and guaranteed lifetime withdrawals with increasing income options offer different ways to protect retirement income from inflation. Choosing the right option depends on your individual financial needs and outlook on inflation. Contact us today for a free quote.

Annuity With Inflation Protection Quotes

Get an inflation-indexed annuity quote from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does inflation work?

Inflation is the gradual increase in prices of goods and services over time. It occurs when there is an excess of money supply in an economy, leading to a decrease in the value of currency. Central banks use various measures, such as interest rates and money supply control, to manage inflation and maintain price stability. Ultimately, inflation impacts consumers’ purchasing power and affects the overall economy. So, how does inflation work?

Do fixed annuities protect against inflation?

No, fixed annuities do not protect against inflation. Fixed annuities provide a fixed rate of return on the individual’s investment and do not adjust the income payments based on changes in the cost of living. This means that the purchasing power of the individual’s retirement income may be reduced over time as inflation increases. If protection against inflation is a concern, an inflation-protected annuity may be a better option.

Do annuity payments increase with inflation?

It depends on the type of annuity. Some annuities, such as inflation-protected annuities, are specifically designed to increase income payments over time to keep pace with inflation. The income payments of these annuities are linked to a benchmark, such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the change in the cost of living over time. As the cost of living increases, so does the individual’s income from the annuity.

What should I consider when choosing an inflation-protected annuity?

When selecting an inflation-protected annuity, it’s important to consider all of your options. You should also consider the trade-offs involved, such as whether the peace of mind provided by an annuity with inflation protection is worth the initial lower income. Ultimately, you should choose an annuity that enables you to build a secure retirement and provides you with the desired stability and security.

What annuity hedges against inflation?

Fixed index annuities and variable annuities with lifetime income riders are two types of annuities that offer protection against inflation.

What is an annuity COLA?

An annuity COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) is a feature that increases payout amounts to help keep up with inflation over time.

What is an immediate annuity with inflation protection?

An immediate annuity with inflation protection is a financial product that provides a fixed stream of income for life, with the added benefit of adjusting the payments to combat inflation. This means that the annuity income increases over time, offering a safeguard against rising living costs. It is a popular choice for those seeking a reliable income solution that keeps pace with inflation.

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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