What is a Deferred Annuity?

Are you planning for retirement and seeking a reliable source of income? Deferred annuities might be the answer you’ve been searching for. They offer tax-deferred growth, guaranteed income payments, and flexible payout options, making them an attractive option for many retirees.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of deferred annuities, exploring their types, benefits, and potential drawbacks, and guiding you through the process of selecting the right deferred annuity for your unique financial situation.


  • Deferred annuities offer tax-deferred growth, guaranteed income payments and flexible payout options.
  • Investors should weigh potential benefits against associated risks such as fees, liquidity concerns and inflation risk.
  • Choosing the right deferred annuity requires assessing financial goals, understanding one’s risk tolerance & investment preferences, and consulting an annuity expert.

There are lots of annuity options available. To get help with choosing the right annuity 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!).

Understanding Deferred Annuities

A deferred annuity is an annuity when you are waiting to take income. So perhaps you fund the annuity now but decide to take income in a year, 5 years, 10 years or more. That is a deferred income.

Deferred annuities, also known as deferred annuity contracts, are agreements between investors and an insurance company that provide a future income stream with two stages: the accumulation and payout phases, and options for either fixed or variable investments.

Among the types of deferred annuities, Single Premium Deferred Annuity is the most prevalent type, while Flexible Premium Deferred Annuity is another common option.

While deferred annuities offer several benefits, including tax-deferred growth, guaranteed income payments, and flexible payout choices, they also come with potential drawbacks such as fees and charges, liquidity issues, and inflation risk.

Accumulation and Payout Phases

In the accumulation phase of a deferred annuity, your investment grows tax-deferred, allowing for potentially higher annuity income during the payout phase.

Once the payout phase begins, the annuity contract offers a guaranteed income for life or a specified period, providing you with financial stability during your retirement years. Additionally, a lump sum option may be available depending on your annuity contract.

Various payout structures are available for deferred annuities, allowing you to choose the one that best meets your needs, such as an immediate annuity or a deferred income annuity. This flexibility allows you to tailor your retirement income strategy to your unique circumstances and goals.

Fixed vs. Variable Deferred Annuities

A fixed deferred annuity, also known as a fixed annuity, provides guaranteed returns, ensuring a stable income stream during your retirement years. However, fixed deferred annuities may not keep pace with inflation, which could diminish your purchasing power over time.

On the other hand, a variable deferred annuity’s returns are contingent upon the performance of the underlying investments, offering the potential for higher returns but also exposing you to more risk.

Ultimately, the choice between a fixed and variable deferred annuity will depend on your risk tolerance and investment preferences.

Advantages of Deferred Annuities

One of the most significant benefits of deferred annuities is their tax-deferred growth. This allows your earnings to accumulate without being taxed until you start receiving payments during the payout phase, potentially maximizing your returns and minimizing your tax liability.

This tax advantage is especially valuable for those in higher tax brackets who expect to be in a lower tax bracket during retirement.

Another advantage of deferred annuities is their guaranteed income payments. These payments provide a dependable source of income during retirement, helping you maintain your lifestyle and ensuring financial stability.

Additionally, deferred annuities offer flexible payout options, allowing you to tailor your retirement income to your individual requirements and optimize your returns and tax liability.

Tax-Deferred Growth

Tax-deferred growth allows your earnings to accumulate in your deferred annuity without being taxed until the payout phase begins. This can lead to a higher annuity income when you start receiving payments, as you’ll only be taxed on the interest portion of the payment, and not on your principal investment.

This tax advantage is particularly beneficial for long-term investors, as it allows your earnings to compound over time without the burden of taxation. By deferring taxes on your investment gains, you can potentially achieve higher overall returns and enjoy a more substantial retirement income.

Guaranteed Income Payments

Deferred annuities provide guaranteed income payments, ensuring a reliable source of income during your retirement years. These payments can be structured to last for your entire lifetime or for a predetermined period, depending on your financial needs and goals.

This can help you maintain your desired lifestyle and provide peace of mind knowing that you have a consistent income stream.

In addition to the guaranteed income, many deferred annuities also offer annuity contracts with riders that provide a minimum payment amount when you begin receiving income.

Regardless of the investment performance, as well as a death benefit for your beneficiaries if you pass away during the accumulation phase. These additional features can offer further financial security and protection for you and your loved ones.

Flexible Payout Options

Flexible payout options are another advantage of deferred annuities, as they allow you to choose when and how you receive your annuity payments. This flexibility enables you to tailor your retirement income strategy based on your specific needs, goals, and tax situation.

Various payout options are available for deferred annuities, including:

  • Fixed period income
  • Specified amount income
  • Life income agreement
  • Joint life income
  • Flexible payout deposit
  • Deferred income settlement

These options provide you with the ability to customize your annuity payments to best meet your financial needs and objectives, including the choice of a lump sum payment.

Risks and Drawbacks of Deferred Annuities

While deferred annuities offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and drawbacks associated with them. These include fees and charges, liquidity concerns, and inflation risk.

Understanding these risks and drawbacks can help you make an informed decision when considering a deferred annuity investment.

It’s crucial to weigh the potential benefits against these risks and to carefully consider whether a deferred annuity aligns with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences.

Fees and Charges

Deferred annuities may involve various fees and charges, depending on the type of annuity and the provider. These fees can include setup fees, management fees, and withdrawal fees, which can affect your overall returns.

Surrender fees, in particular, can be a significant expense if you need to access your funds before the end of the surrender period. It’s essential to fully understand the fees and charges associated with a deferred annuity before investing, as they can impact your overall financial plan and retirement goals.

Liquidity Concerns

Deferred annuities are not liquid investments, meaning that access to your funds is limited until the payout phase begins. This can be a concern for investors who may need to access their funds before the payout phase starts.

If you withdraw funds from your annuity before the payout phase begins or before you reach the age of 59 1/2, you may face a surrender charge or other penalties, including a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to income taxes on the gains.

This lack of liquidity is an important factor to consider when evaluating whether a deferred annuity is the right investment for your financial situation.

Inflation Risk

Inflation risk is another potential drawback of deferred annuities, particularly for fixed deferred annuities, which may not keep pace with inflation over time. This can result in a reduction of your purchasing power during your retirement years, affecting your overall financial stability.

Variable deferred annuities can help mitigate inflation risk by offering the potential for higher returns based on investment performance. However, they also come with increased risk due to the fluctuating nature of their underlying investments.

It’s essential to carefully balance the potential benefits and risks of both fixed and variable deferred annuities when considering them as part of your retirement planning strategy.

Choosing the Right Deferred Annuity for Your Needs

Selecting the right deferred annuity involves:

  • Assessing your financial goals
  • Evaluating your risk tolerance
  • Considering your investment preferences
  • Consulting with a annuity expert to make informed decisions

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a deferred annuity that aligns with your unique financial situation and retirement objectives.

Remember, the right deferred annuity can provide you with a steady stream of income during your retirement years, offering financial security and peace of mind.

However, it’s essential to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks, and work with a professional to ensure that your investment aligns with your overall financial plan.

Assessing Your Financial Goals

When selecting a deferred annuity, it’s crucial to consider your financial goals, such as desired retirement income, the duration of your investment, and any other relevant objectives.

Understanding your financial goals will help you determine the most appropriate type of deferred annuity and payout structure for your unique needs.

For example, if your primary goal is to secure a guaranteed income during retirement, a fixed deferred annuity may be the best option for you. Conversely, if you’re seeking the potential for higher returns and are comfortable with the additional risk, a variable deferred annuity may be more suitable.

Risk Tolerance and Investment Preferences

Your risk tolerance and investment preferences play a critical role in determining the most suitable deferred annuity for your needs. If you have a low risk tolerance and prefer a stable income stream, a fixed deferred annuity may be the better choice.

However, if you have a higher risk tolerance and are willing to accept the potential for fluctuating returns, a variable deferred annuity could be more suitable.

Consider factors such as your target retirement age, financial goals, and unique circumstances when determining your risk tolerance. Remember that risk tolerance is a highly personal matter and can differ from person to person, so it’s essential to carefully assess your individual situation and preferences.

Working with a Professional

Working with a annuity expert can be a valuable resource when selecting a deferred annuity. They can help you navigate the complexities of these investment products and make informed decisions based on your unique financial situation. They can:

  • Evaluate your needs
  • Provide tailored recommendations
  • Ensure that the annuity you choose is structured to provide a guaranteed income stream during retirement.

In addition to assisting with the selection process, a professional can also help you with long-term planning by considering factors such as inflation, market fluctuations, and healthcare costs.

They can provide advice on the fees and taxation implications associated with annuities, ensuring that you’re fully informed and prepared to make the best decision for your financial future.


Deferred annuities can be a valuable tool for securing a steady income during retirement, offering tax-deferred growth, guaranteed income payments, and flexible payout options.

However, it’s essential to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks, and work with a professional to ensure that your investment aligns with your overall financial plan.

By thoroughly assessing your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences, you can choose the right deferred annuity that will provide you with financial security and peace of mind during your golden years.

By consulting with an annuity expert, you can make educated decisions regarding your annuity investments, ensuring a safe and secure retirement income strategy that meets your unique financial goals and needs.

Click here to schedule a call.

Scroll to Top