What Is the Standard Annuity?

The standard annuity is the annuity that gives the highest amount of income for your lifetime. And if you pass away before the money is used up then whatever is left in there is given to your beneficiaries.

It is designed to offer a steady income stream during retirement, ensuring financial stability over the long term.

In this article, we’ll explore how standard annuities work, their payment options, and their benefits related to the question of what is the standard annuity.


  • Standard annuities provide a guaranteed, lifetime income stream, ensuring financial stability throughout retirement.
  • There are multiple payment options including Single Life Annuity, which offers the highest monthly income for individuals, and Joint Life Annuity, which ensures continued payments to a surviving spouse.
  • Customization options and financial strength of the insurance company are crucial when selecting a standard annuity, offering added features like inflation protection, death benefits, and ensuring reliable income.

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How the Standard Annuity Works

Illustration of a stack of coins and a financial growth chart

Focusing toward a steady retirement income often begins with a standard annuity. The standard annuity is designed to provide peace of mind and stability.

To get started, one typically invests a lump sum or makes periodic contributions to an insurance company.

This company, in turn, allows it to grow tax-deferred during your retirement years, following the purchase of the annuity.

When the payoff phase begins, the contract value is transformed into a series of regular payments.

This is where the standard annuity stands out, offering a reliable income stream that complements your retirement savings.

But the true beauty of a standard annuity lies in its function: a guarantee that this income will continue for the entirety of your life.

In other words, it’s a financial guarantee that ensures you’ll never outlive your money, no matter how long you live.

See also: How much does a $500K annuity pay?

Lifetime Income Guarantee

The lifetime income guarantee is a part of the standard annuity, offering financial safety that helps you no matter what. In an unpredictable world, having a source of income that sticks around as long as you do is reassuring.

It’s especially critical to focus on such guarantees when interest rates are soaring.

This softens the impact of a volatile economy, ensuring that your retirement savings continue to work for you, providing a consistent income.

Payment Options for Standard Annuities

Standard annuities come with a menu of payment options, each with its own set of benefits tailored to different retirement needs. These options range from maximizing monthly income to providing for loved ones after you’re gone.

You could choose a plan with reduced monthly benefits that ensure a beneficiary continues to receive financial support after the retiree’s demise, offering comfort and security to both the retiree and their families.

Single Life Annuity

For those with no spouse going into retirement, the Single Life Annuity option stands out as a promising option for the highest monthly income during your lifetime.

It’s straightforward—payments flow in for as long as you live, and cease when you pass.

This option is a favorite among those who prioritize an income stream and don’t need to worry about providing for a spouse or dependents after they’re gone.

Yet, the true value of a Single Life Annuity isn’t just in the higher payouts; it’s also in the security of knowing exactly how much you’ll receive each month, allowing for precise financial planning.

Joint Life Annuity

Transitioning to a Joint Life Annuity, we find that with this type of annuity, not only does the retiree enjoy a steady income, but also the assurance that their partner will continue to receive financial support after their passing.

This is exemplified by the Qualified Joint & Survivor Annuity, a plan where the retiree’s pension becomes a lasting legacy for their spouse.

Half of the monthly amount continues to support the surviving spouse.

Choosing a Joint Life Annuity is a decision that reflects not just financial wisdom but also a deep consideration for the well-being of one’s beneficiary.

Survivor Benefits

Survivor benefits are an integral part of the conversation when discussing standard annuities. These benefits ensure that the retiree’s foresight pays dividends to their beneficiaries, even after they’ve departed.

With options like the Five Year Certain and Life Annuity, if the retiree passes early, the beneficiaries are not left with nothing.

They continue to receive payments, ensuring that the retiree’s financial legacy lives on.

Flexibility and Customization

Standard annuities offer customizable elements that cater to individual preferences and changing needs.

Some of these customization options include:

  • Choosing the payment frequency that aligns with your cash flow requirements
  • Adding income riders that offer extra protections
  • Selecting a specific payout option, such as a lump sum or regular payments
  • Adjusting the length of the payout period
  • Including a death benefit for your beneficiaries

These customization options allow you to tailor your annuity to fit your unique life script.

These additional income riders can be useful in your financial planning, providing options for inflation protection, enhanced death benefits, or even long-term care coverage, making a standard annuity a versatile and adaptable financial tool.

Financial Strength and Security

The financial strength of the insurance company cannot be overstated when it comes to ensuring the promises of an annuity are kept.

Companies like Standard Insurance Company, with their robust financial footing, provide the strength for the reliability of annuity payments.

Choosing a financially secure provider means:

  • Sidestepping the risk of default
  • Ensuring that the steady stream of income you’re counting on for retirement will flow uninterrupted
  • It’s not just about the payments themselves, but also about the peace of mind that comes from knowing your provider is rock-solid.

Common Misconceptions About Standard Annuities

It’s easy to get caught up in the amount of opinions that label annuities as overly expensive or low-yielding.

Yet, a closer look reveals that the costs associated with annuities are the price paid for the guarantee of lifetime income—a valuable commodity in retirement.

Detractors may point to the seemingly modest returns of annuities compared to other investments, but they often overlook the security that comes with guaranteed income for consumers, especially when the markets take a dive.

To craft a well-rounded retirement plan, one must consider the full spectrum of benefits.

Understanding the true balance of costs and guarantees can clear any doubt, enabling better planning and a brighter outlook for retirement.

If you need any assistance with annuities, schedule a call with an annuity expert.

Comparing Standard Annuities to Other Retirement Income Options

Standard annuities are often weighed against other retirement income strategies, such as mutual funds or bonds. Each option has its own strengths and potential weaknesses, and retirees will consider all of them.

The stark difference lies in the guarantee—while other investment options may offer the allure of higher returns, they lack the promise of a lifetime income that standard annuities provide.

In an annuity, the investment risk shifts from the retiree to the insurer, offering a buffer against the unpredictability of markets.

Nevertheless, one should consider the lack of liquidity in standard annuities, which may make accessing large sums in emergencies challenging. It’s a trade-off between higher, riskier returns and the certainty of a stable income for as long as you live.

See also: How do annuities work?


An annuity being part of your retirement plan, has proven to be a reliable and worthwhile option.

You may find that it’s the missing part of your financial planning, offering you the freedom to enjoy your retirement years with confidence and ease.

A trusted advisor can help determine which product is best suited for your financial situation by thoroughly assessing your needs.

Whether you choose the life insurance benefits and growth potential of annuity or the reliable income stream of annuities, the key is to align your selection with your personal aspirations and financial roadmap.

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