Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA)

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

What is a SPIA Annuity?

A SPIA is a contract between you and an insurance company. In exchange for a lump sum payment, the insurance company promises to provide you with regular income payments for a specified period or for the rest of your life. Think of it as trading a lump sum for a guaranteed paycheck.

Related Reading: Single-premium immediate annuity calculator

How Does a SPIA Work?

At its core, the mechanics of a SPIA are straightforward. You provide a one-time, lump-sum payment to an insurance company. In return, they offer you a series of payments. These can be either fixed (a set amount) or variable (based on the performance of investments chosen by the annuity holder).

Single-Premium Immediate Annuity

Why Consider a SPIA?

  • Guaranteed Income: Whether you opt for fixed or variable payments, a SPIA provides a predictable income stream, which can be especially valuable during retirement.
  • Tax Benefits: Part of each payment you receive is considered a return of your original investment and is thus not taxable. This is known as the exclusion ratio.
  • Flexibility: You can tailor your SPIA to include features like a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), which can help your income keep pace with inflation.
Single Premium Immediate Annuities (Spia)

Types of Single Premium Immediate Annuities

When it comes to single premium immediate annuities, there are several options to choose from depending on your financial goals and retirement needs. Understanding the different types of annuities can help you make an informed decision and find the one that aligns with your objectives.

1. Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity

A guaranteed lifetime income annuity offers a reliable source of income that will last for the rest of your life. With this type of annuity, you receive regular payments, ensuring financial security in retirement. The amount you receive is determined by factors such as your age, investment amount, and the current interest rates.

2. Lifetime Mutual Income Annuity

A lifetime mutual income annuity not only provides lifetime payments but also offers the potential for non-guaranteed dividends. This type of annuity allows you to receive regular income while also benefiting from any additional earnings generated by the underlying investments. It can be a suitable choice for those looking for a mix of guaranteed income and the possibility of higher returns.

3. Guaranteed Period Income Annuity

A guaranteed period income annuity provides income for a defined period of time, such as bridging the gap until Social Security payments start or covering specific financial needs during retirement. Unlike the lifetime annuities, this type of annuity does not provide income for the rest of your life but offers a guaranteed payout for a predetermined period.

Choosing the right type of single premium immediate annuity depends on your individual circumstances and retirement goals. Consider factors such as your desired income, risk tolerance, and financial objectives when selecting the annuity that best suits your needs.

Who Should Consider a SPIA?

  • Retirees: Those transitioning from a steady paycheck might find the guaranteed income from a SPIA comforting.
  • Lottery Winners: A sudden windfall can be overwhelming. Converting a portion into a SPIA can provide structured income over time.
  • 401k and IRA Holders: Rolling over funds from a 401k or IRA into a SPIA can provide a steady income in retirement without the need for active management.
Spia Annuity

When to Buy a SPIA?

Timing is crucial. Consider purchasing a SPIA when:

  1. You’re nearing or have entered retirement and need a consistent income source.
  2. Interest rates are favorable, as they can influence the amount of income you receive.
  3. You’ve received a lump sum, like from a lottery win or an inheritance, and want to ensure long-term financial stability.

Related Reading: Deferred Annuities Vs. SPIAs

Understanding Key Terms:

  • Annuitization: The process of converting your lump sum into a series of income payments.
  • COLA: Cost-of-Living Adjustment ensures your annuity payments increase with inflation, preserving your purchasing power.
  • Irrevocable: Once you’ve purchased a SPIA, the decision is typically final. This means you can’t reverse the annuity or withdraw the lump sum.
What Does Spia Mean

SPIA Pros And Cons

Pros of SPIAsCons of SPIAs
Guaranteed Income Stream: SPIAs provide a consistent and reliable source of income, ensuring financial stability, especially during retirement.Irrevocability: Once purchased, a SPIA is typically irreversible. You usually cannot withdraw a lump sum after you’ve annuitized your investment.
Tailored Income Options: You can choose between fixed or variable payments, allowing for a degree of personalization based on your financial goals and risk tolerance.Inflation Risk: Unless you opt for a COLA feature, fixed annuity payments might not keep up with inflation, potentially eroding your purchasing power over time.
Tax Efficiency: The income from a SPIA can be partially tax-free due to the exclusion ratio, as a portion of the payouts is considered a return of your initial investment.Opportunity Cost: The lump sum paid for a SPIA is no longer available for other potential investments that might offer higher returns.
No Market Risk: For fixed SPIAs, income is not subject to stock market fluctuations, ensuring stable payouts even during economic downturns.Interest Rate Sensitivity: The initial income rate for SPIAs is influenced by current interest rates. Buying during a period of low rates might result in lower income.
Longevity Protection: SPIAs can provide income for life, eliminating the risk of outliving your savings.No Wealth Transfer: Unless there are specific contract provisions, any remaining balance typically does not pass to heirs upon death.
Financial Simplicity: Unlike active investments, SPIAs don’t require ongoing management, making them a hassle-free component of your financial plan.Lack of Liquidity: Funds in a SPIA are not easily accessible for unexpected expenses or investment opportunities.


A Single-Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA) is more than just a financial instrument; it’s a promise of stability in an uncertain world. Whether you’re a retiree looking for peace of mind, a lottery winner seeking structure, or someone planning for the future, a SPIA offers a unique blend of security and flexibility.

With the right knowledge and guidance, you can harness the power of SPIAs to achieve your financial goals. Remember, the journey to financial security isn’t about the destination; it’s about the steps you take along the way. And with a SPIA, those steps are steady and assured.

Fixed And Variable Single Premium Income Annuities

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Is a Single Premium Immediate Annuity taxable income?

Yes, income from a single premium immediate annuity can be taxable depending on the type of payments you receive. If you receive fixed periodic payments, they will generally be treated as ordinary income for tax purposes and taxed accordingly.

Can a single premium immediate annuity be rolled into my 401k?

No, a single premium immediate annuity cannot be rolled into a 401k. It is an insurance product that provides guaranteed income payments for life and is not eligible for rollovers to tax-advantaged retirement accounts such as IRAs or 401ks.

Can I withdraw money from my single premium immediate annuity?

Generally speaking, you cannot withdraw money from a single premium immediate annuity once you have started receiving payments. However, it is possible to receive a lump sum or partial withdrawal depending on the terms of your contract and the insurer’s policies. There may also be fees associated with such withdrawals. As such, reviewing your policy in detail before making any decisions regarding withdrawals is essential.

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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