From The Publisher

This buying guide is intended to provide objective and actionable information for “consumers” or the people who might actually consider the purchase of an annuity.

For those with neither the time nor the desire to browse through this buying guide, the following are some simple points to consider:

  • While annuities come in many different flavors which can be put to multiple uses, the bottom line is that annuities are fundamentally about generating income that is required to support sustainable retirement spending.
  • A few very fortunate and wealthy individuals will have little need for concern about sustainable spending rates during retirement. Annuities are largely irrelevant to these people.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, millions of people will rely on Social Security as their sole source of retirement income. Annuities are also largely irrelevant to this group of people.
  • For the many millions of people in the middle, retirement spending will likely consist of Social Security, the income that can be generated from personal savings, and possibly—although increasingly rare—pension income. If you fall into this broad category, you unquestionably need to carefully consider how annuities can be used to convert your retirement savings into a stable source of income that plugs potential spending gaps and is guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When writing this guide, I think of providing guidance to a parent who, after working and saving their entire lives, is ultimately responsible for the daunting task of arranging their personal finances in a manner that will support what will hopefully be many years of comfortable retirement.

There is quite a bit of information scattered throughout the Annuity Digest site. This material, however, is focused on buying guidance and is written for the person who has little or no knowledge of annuities.There is no hidden agenda with this buying guide. I wrote it because I find the subject matter interesting and important, and I think personal finance decisions can have a critical impact on people’s lives.

I hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to ask questions, make suggestions, provide comments and discuss any aspect of this material. I welcome input and contributions from the community as this buying guide is a work in progress that will continually change and hopefully improve.

Thomas Cochrane, CFA

Founder and Publisher, Annuity Digest