Dave Ramsey and Annuities: What You Need to Know

Annuities have been a hotly debated topic in the world of retirement planning, particularly due to the polarizing views of an important figure in the finance community, Dave Ramsey. While some approve of their benefits, others, like Ramsey, argue against them.

So, what’s the real story behind annuities, and should you consider them for your retirement plan?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore Dave Ramsey’s view on annuities, examine annuity benefits and drawbacks, discuss various types of annuities, and provide insights on incorporating annuities into your retirement plan.


  • Dave Ramsey has a lot of good advice on getting out of debt, investing and retirement.
  • However, when it comes to annuities, Dave Ramsey is against using them. 
  • It’s important to look at Dave Ramsey’s motivations as to why he doesn’t recommend annuities. Dave Ramsey will typically send his audience over to financial advisors who pay him a fee to recommend them. These advisors typically make money from the amount of money they manage for their clients. If they purchase an annuity, the financial advisor that Dave Ramsey recommends earns less commissions because they’ll have less money invested in the market.
  • In most circumstances, annuities are a good option for retirement if you’re looking for guarantees in retirement.
  • Annuities can provide guaranteed income, protection from market volatility and potential tax advantages. Seeking professional advice is essential for making an informed decision when incorporating annuities into your retirement plan.

Need help deciding whether annuities are worthwhile option for your retirement needs? If so, it’s best to speak with an annuity specialist. Watch this short video to see how I can help you do this (at no cost to you!)

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Dave Ramsey’s Stance on Annuities

Dave Ramsey, a widely regarded authority on finance and entrepreneurship, is known for his negative view on annuities. He cites high fees, restricted access to invested funds, and complexity as disadvantages of annuities, which he often discusses on the Dave Ramsey Show. 

As alternatives, he recommends investments such as 401(k) plans and mutual funds.

Here are some of Dave Ramsey’s concerns with annuities:

High fees and surrender charges

One of the primary concerns with annuities is the high fees and surrender charges associated with them. The fees can range from 0.50% to 2% of the contract value, with variable annuity fees potentially reaching 3.00% or more annually.

These fees can significantly impact your returns, so you should inquire with your advisor about the specific fees associated with the annuity you’re considering.

Surrender charges are another concern, as they can amount to 7% to 8% or more of the annuity amount, with the surrender period typically lasting eight years. These charges are implemented to discourage early withdrawals and incentivize long-term commitment to the annuity.

Here’s my thoughts on surrender charges:

Limited access to invested money

Another potential drawback of annuities is the limited access to invested money. Withdrawing funds from an annuity before the age of 59 ½ can result in a 10% federal tax penalty. Additionally, certain annuities may impose surrender charges if withdrawals exceed a predetermined percentage annually.

Surrender charges for annuities are generally determined as a percentage of the annuity’s accumulated value or the amount being withdrawn, with the charge gradually decreasing over a span of seven to ten years.

In contrast, investments like mutual funds may offer more flexibility and accessibility to your money.

Evaluating the potential drawbacks of limited access to invested funds is necessary when considering an annuity.

Complexity and confusion

Annuities can be intricate and perplexing, making them challenging for investors to fully understand. The complexity stems from various types of annuities, investment options, fees, and guaranteed income features, which can make it difficult for investors to fully understand how annuities function.

Additionally, the ongoing debate in the financial community concerning annuities can add to the confusion.

Greater complexity can make it harder for investors to comprehend and assess the annuity, potentially decreasing their enthusiasm for investing in annuities. Complex annuity products may also contain insurance features that are not immediately apparent, further adding to the confusion for investors.

It is advisable to consult a reliable financial advisor to address the intricacies of annuities and make a wise decision.

The Other Side of the Coin: Benefits of Annuities

Despite Ramsey’s criticisms, annuities do offer several benefits that make them an attractive option for some investors. Annuities provide guaranteed income, protection from market fluctuations, and potential tax advantages.

These benefits can make annuities an appealing option for those seeking a reliable and stable source of income during retirement.

You should carefully weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of annuities before making a decision. 

Here are the benefits of annuities and how they may fit into your retirement plan:

Guaranteed income

One of the most significant benefits of annuities is their ability to provide a guaranteed income stream in retirement, either immediately or at a later date.

A guaranteed income annuity functions by transforming a lump sum of money into a steady stream of income that is guaranteed for a designated period of time or for the remainder of the annuity owner’s life.

This provides a dependable source of income, either for a predetermined number of years or for the lifetime of the annuity owner.

The guaranteed income amount from an annuity is determined by taking into account factors such as the initial investment amount, the annuity rate, and the individual’s life expectancy. Annuities can also adjust for inflation, ensuring that the income received keeps pace with the rising cost of living.

Protection from market volatility

Annuities can provide the following benefits:

  • Protection of investments from market volatility
  • More stable return
  • Guaranteed income
  • Protection from market downturns
  • Reliable stream of income unaffected by market fluctuations.

Also, fixed annuities offer the following benefits:

  • They transfer the market risk to the insurance company, providing a buffer against market volatility.
  • This protection from market risks can be particularly beneficial during times of economic uncertainty.
  • They offer peace of mind for retirees who may have concerns about maintaining their income in the face of a volatile market.

Tax advantages

Some types of annuities offer tax advantages, such as:

  • Tax-free interest
  • Tax deductions
  • Untaxed earnings until withdrawals are taken
  • Tax-free growth when purchased with a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k)

Deposits into an annuity are not eligible for a tax deduction.

Comprehending the tax implications of various annuity options is a necessary step in deciding if an annuity fits into your retirement plan.

Consulting a tax professional or financial advisor can help you navigate the complexities of annuity taxation and make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

Types of Annuities Explained

There are various types of annuities, including fixed, variable, and indexed annuities, each offering different features and benefits.

Understanding the differences between these types of annuities is crucial in determining which one may be the best fit for your retirement plan.

We will further examine each type of annuity and discuss their respective pros and cons.

Fixed Annuities

Fixed annuities, also known as a fixed annuity, offer the following benefits for retirees:

  • Guaranteed payments and interest rates
  • Stable income
  • Predetermined payout over a predefined time frame
  • Safety of the principal

While fixed annuities offer the appeal of guaranteed income and a fixed interest rate, there are also disadvantages such as limited growth, penalties for early withdrawals, and high fees. Weighing the pros and cons of fixed annuities is a necessary step when considering them as part of your retirement plan.

Indexed Annuities

Indexed annuities offer returns based on a specific index, providing a balance between risk and reward. Their return is determined by the performance of a stock market index, such as the S&P 500, with the funds in an indexed annuity based on positive changes in the index.

Indexed annuities provide a unique blend of risk and reward, offering the potential for higher returns than fixed annuities while still providing some level of protection against market volatility.

Fixed indexed annuities, a type of indexed annuities, require careful consideration of their characteristics and how they might align with your retirement strategy.

Variable Annuities

Variable annuities rely on investment performance, offering potentially higher returns but also higher risk. They are essentially mutual funds within an annuity structure, with payments in retirement dependent on the performance of the selected mutual fund.

While variable annuities may provide higher returns than fixed annuities, they also come with risks such as:

  • Equity and interest rate risks
  • The possibility of losses due to market volatility
  • The potential for underlying investments to lose value
  • Potentially high fees

These factors should be carefully considered when determining if a variable annuity fits into your retirement plan.

Incorporating Annuities into Your Retirement Plan

Incorporating annuities into your retirement plan can provide diversification, risk management, and customization, all of which are essential components of a successful retirement strategy.

By understanding the various types of annuities and their benefits and drawbacks, you can make an informed decision about whether annuities are a suitable addition to your retirement plan.

We will discuss how annuities can contribute to diversification, risk management, and customization in your retirement plan.


Annuities can diversify your portfolio, reducing overall risk and helping to stabilize your investment returns. By providing a guaranteed income stream that is not affected by market fluctuations, annuities can help balance the risk and return profile of your portfolio.

Besides, annuities can complement other income sources like:

  • Social Security
  • pensions
  • rental income
  • dividends

This combination of investments allows you to manage market volatility and create a balanced portfolio that meets your retirement goals and supports your retirement savings.

Risk management

Annuities can help manage risk by providing a guaranteed income stream and protection from market volatility. This ensures that your annuity payments and retirement income remains stable, even during times of economic uncertainty.

Beyond offering protection against market risks, annuities can also help reduce the risk of outliving your retirement assets by providing a guaranteed lifelong income.

This can be particularly beneficial for those concerned about maintaining their income in the face of increasing life expectancies and rising healthcare costs.


Annuities can be customized to fit your specific retirement needs and goals. By incorporating riders that offer extra benefits, such as long-term care or disability coverage, annuities can be adapted to meet your unique retirement objectives.

Moreover, annuity payouts can be modified to include joint policies with a spouse, guarantee that any unreturned premium is paid to beneficiaries, and ensure that income keeps pace with inflation.

By customizing your annuity to align with your retirement goals, you can create a retirement plan that provides financial security and peace of mind.

Seeking Professional Advice on Annuities

Seeking professional advice on annuities can help. You can find a trusted advisor, evaluate your retirement goals, and make an informed decision about whether annuities are a suitable addition to your retirement plan.

By consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced advisor, you can gain valuable insights into the world of annuities and how they may fit into your overall retirement strategy.

We will discuss the importance of finding the right advisor, evaluating your retirement goals, and making a wise decision about annuities.

Evaluating your retirement goals

Evaluating your retirement goals will help you determine if annuities are a suitable addition to your retirement plan. Assessing factors such as your desired lifestyle, financial resources, and time horizon can help you identify the most suitable retirement plan.

By understanding these factors and how they relate to annuities, you can make an informed decision about whether incorporating annuities into your retirement strategy is the right choice for you.

Making an informed decision

Making an informed decision on annuities requires understanding their benefits, drawbacks, and how they fit into your overall retirement strategy.

By seeking professional advice, evaluating your retirement goals, and learning about the various types of annuities and their features, you can make a well-informed decision about whether annuities are the right choice for your retirement plan.


In conclusion, it’s essential to consider both the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision on purchasing an annuity.

Annuities can provide guaranteed income, protection from market volatility, and potential tax advantages, making them an attractive option for some investors.

By understanding the various types of annuities, seeking professional advice, and carefully evaluating your retirement goals, you can make an informed decision about whether annuities are a suitable addition to your retirement plan.

Have more questions about annuities? Click here to book a free consultation. 

In this consultation, I can provide personalized advice and strategies, guiding you to make informed decisions about annuities and optimize your retirement planning.

I can also compare all the annuities so you can see which one is best regardless of the commissions associated with the annuity.

During the consultation, you will:

  • Be able to compare different annuity options
  • Learn how to grow & protect your wealth in retirement
  • Get all of your questions about annuities answered

I look forward to speaking with you soon!

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