Joint Life Annuity Vs. Joint And Survivor Annuity

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What Are These Annuities?

Joint Life Annuity:

It is a financial product that offers payments for the lives of two individuals. The annuity ceases when the first of the two annuitants passes away. One key feature of the joint life annuity is the payout provided by Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits on deferred annuities.

Example: If a couple, John and Jane, opt for this annuity, they will receive payouts as long as both are alive. Once either John or Jane passes away, the payouts stop.

Joint And Survivor Annuity:

This annuity continues payments as long as one of the two annuitants is still alive. The irrevocable payout from the annuitization marks it.

Example: If John and Jane choose this option, and John passes away, Jane will continue to receive the payments until her demise.

Joint Life Annuity

Why Choose One Over The Other?

The Pros And Cons of Joint Life Annuity:


  • Offers the ability to earn interest.
  • Provides a lump sum death benefit.


  • Payouts can be lower than a single-life payout.

The Pros And Cons of Joint And Survivor Annuity:


  • Offers a sense of security as payouts continue even after one partner’s demise.


  • It may not offer a death benefit.
  • Doesn’t earn interest.
  • Typically, the payout amount is lesser than that of a joint life annuity since the duration might be longer.
The Pros And Cons Of Joint Life Annuity

How Are These Annuities Structured?

Joint Life Annuity:

It is structured to provide maximum benefits as long as both parties are alive. Interest earnings and lump sum death benefits are vital characteristics.

Joint And Survivor Annuity:

Prioritizes long-term security with payments continuing even if one party passes away. However, this annuity may not have the added benefits of earning interest or offering a death benefit.

Joint And Survivor Annuity

Who Should Opt For Which Annuity?

  • Joint Life Annuity: This is best for couples with substantial secondary sources of income or assets. It’s also preferable for those prioritizing higher payouts and interest earnings.
  • Joint And Survivor Annuity: This is ideal for couples who want to ensure continuous income for the survivor, especially if they anticipate a significant age gap or health disparity between them.

Related Reading: Our top-rated annuity companies for 2024

Next Steps

The choice between Joint Life Annuity and Joint And Survivor Annuity is not one-size-fits-all. It’s about evaluating what best fits your financial goals, anticipated needs, and risk tolerance. Whether you prioritize maximum payouts or long-term security, understanding the differences between these annuities can guide you toward a decision that safeguards your and your loved ones’ futures. Remember, a thoughtful choice today can ensure a worry-free tomorrow.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a joint and survivor annuity last?

A joint and survivor annuity lasts for the lifetimes of both annuitants. Payments continue until both the primary annuitant and their designated survivor (often a spouse) have passed away. This ensures ongoing income for the survivor.

What happens to a joint annuity when one spouse dies?

In a joint annuity, when one spouse dies, the annuity payments generally continue to the surviving spouse. The amount received may remain the same or be reduced, depending on the terms of the annuity contract. This provides a financial safety net for the surviving spouse.

How does a joint and survivor annuity get paid out?

A joint and survivor annuity pays out regular income to both annuitants for life. When one annuitant dies, payments continue to the surviving spouse, often at a reduced rate specified in the contract. This ensures ongoing financial support for the survivor.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, 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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