What is Deferred Annuity? Is this right path for Retirement?

What is Deffered Annuity

Some or all of us want to plan for a secure and comfortable retirement life in the future. In such a situation, a deferred annuity perfectly fits and is a good financial contract that can help you achieve this objective.

In short, a deferred annuity is a long-term savings that allows you to guarantee a reliable income stream for your future, especially during retirement.

It is a favourite of those who want to secure their financial future, especially in retirement. There are different types of annuities and popular choices for their unique features.

In this guide, we’ll cover what deferred annuities are, how they work, their types, and benefits so you can make an informed decision to secure your financial future.

What is a Deferred Annuity

A deferred annuity is like an agreement you make with an insurance company. This agreement is that the insurance company will pay you money regularly or all at once at a certain date in the future. Most investors typically choose deferred annuities for their Social Security to add it to their other retirement income.

These contributions grow over time, accumulating interest gains on a tax-deferred basis. Its main feature is to defer payment to a future date, often until retirement. This way you can ensure your financial security during your retirement and it also guarantees your future income.

For example, if you invest $100,000 in a fixed deferred annuity. So over time, this amount grows with a guaranteed interest rate, say 3%. After the accumulation phase of 10 years, you can choose to receive periodic income payments.

How ​​does Deferred Annuity work?

A Deferred Annuity operates on a simple basis: You invest a lump sum or make periodic payments to the annuity provider, which is usually an insurance company. Your money grows over time, due to interest accumulation or potential market gains, depending on the type of deferred annuity you choose.

There are two primary steps in a deferred annuity:

  1. Accumulation Phase: During this phase, your contributions are invested and have the potential for tax-deferred growth. This means the earnings on your investment will not be taxed until you withdraw it. This phase can last for several years, allowing your money to grow at a compound rate over time.
  2. Distribution Phase: In the distribution phase, you start receiving regular payments from the annuity. You can choose to receive these payments as a fixed stream of income, or variable payments based on market performance or both. The distribution phase begins after a predetermined waiting period, such as retirement.

Types of Deferred Annuities

Deferred annuities come in a variety of forms, each with its own unique features and benefits. The most common types are mentioned below:

  1. Fixed Deferred Annuities: These annuities offer a guaranteed interest rate, providing a steady and predictable income stream during the distribution phase. They are ideal for risk-averse individuals who want security and peace of mind.
  2. Variable Deferred Annuities: With variable annuities, your returns are tied to the performance of the underlying investment, often a mutual fund selection. This means that your income may fluctuate depending on market conditions. Variable annuities can offer the potential for higher returns but come with greater risk and are subject to market volatility.
  3. Indexed Deferred Annuities: These annuities provide returns based on the performance of a specific stock market index, such as the S&P 500. They provide a balance between the stability of fixed annuities and the potential for higher returns.
  4. Deferred Income Annuities: These annuities are also insurance contracts designed to provide guaranteed income starting at a specific future date, often in your later years. In exchange for a lump sum deposit or multiple deposits over your chosen waiting period, an annuity company offers you steady income payments throughout your life.

Benefits of Deferred Annuity

Now that we have a basic understanding of what deferred annuities are and how they work, let’s explore some of the benefits that make them an attractive option for retirement planning:

  1. Tax Benefits: One of the most important benefits of deferred annuities is their tax-deferral feature. During the accumulation phase, your money grows without being subject to annual income taxes, potentially allowing it to compound more quickly.
  2. Guaranteed Income: Fixed deferred annuities provide a predictable stream of income during retirement. So this is reassuring because it ensures that you will have money in later years.
  3. Protection from market volatility: Fixed and indexed annuities provide protection from market downturns and are suitable for risk-averse who want to protect retirement savings from losses.
  4. Customization: Deferred annuities offer a variety of options to customize your income stream. You can choose when the distribution phase starts, how long it will last, and whether you want payments for a fixed period of time.
  5. Death Benefit: Many deferred annuities come with a death benefit that guarantees that your heirs will receive a specified amount, usually the original premium paid, in the event of your demise before the distribution phase begins.
  6. Inflation Protection: Some annuities offer riders or options that can help protect your income from the diminishing effects of inflation, ensuring that your purchase

Is it Good to Invest in Deferred Annuity?

While deferred annuities offer many benefits, they may not be the right choice for everyone. Here are some important things to keep in mind before investing in a Deferred Annuity:

  • Surrender Charges: Deferred annuities often come with surrender charges, which are penalties for withdrawing your money before a specified period. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions related to surrender charges, as they may limit your access to your funds.
  • Fees and Expenses: Annuities may also have fees associated with them, such as administrative fees and mortality and expense charges. These fees can reduce your overall returns, so it’s important to be aware of them and how they can affect your investments.
  • Market risk (for variable annuities): If you choose a variable annuity, your returns will be subject to market fluctuations. Although it may offer the potential for high returns, it also involves high risk, and your earnings may vary.
  • Loss of Liquidity: Once you invest in a deferred annuity, your money is generally tied up for a long period. While some annuities offer partial withdrawal or liquidity options, access to your funds may be limited, especially during the surrender charge period.
  • Long-term commitment: Purchasing a deferred annuity is a long-term commitment that may not be suitable if you need access to your funds for unexpected expenses.
  • Diversification: Relying solely on deferred annuities for your retirement income may not be the best strategy. Diversifying your retirement savings with other investments can provide additional security and flexibility.
  • Understanding the Contract: Annuity contracts can be complex, full of fine print and vary from provider to provider. Make sure you understand the terms, conditions and any riders or options before you sign up.

Who should buy a Deferred Annuity?

Deferred annuities can be a valuable financial contract for specific individuals depending on their financial goals and circumstances. Here’s who should consider purchasing a deferred annuity:

  • Individuals planning for retirement: Deferred annuities are ideal for those who want to secure a steady stream of income during retirement. By investing in a deferred annuity, you can ensure a reliable income source after you stop working.
  • Long-Term Savers: Deferred annuities are designed for the long term. If you are searching for long-term savings and want to benefit from potential tax-deferred growth, deferred annuities may be a good option.
  • Risk-averse investors: Fixed deferred annuities provide security and predictability, making them suitable for risk-averse investors who want to protect their principal while earning modest, guaranteed returns.
  • Individuals with tax efficiency in mind: Deferred annuities offer tax-deferred growth, making them attractive to individuals looking to reduce current tax liabilities while saving for the future.
  • Those who are concerned about outliving savings: Longevity annuities under the deferred annuity category are excellent for individuals who are concerned about their savings. They offer guaranteed income starting from a specified future date, addressing longevity risk.

Note: Still, deferred annuities may not be right for everyone. People who need liquidity, are looking for higher-risk investments, or have a shorter time horizon may find other investment options more suitable.


Deferred annuities play an important role in providing individuals with options to secure their financial future. By allowing you to accumulate money tax-deferred and providing a range of income distribution options, deferred annuities provide flexibility and stability in retirement planning.

However, like any financial product, do thorough research and understand the terms and conditions of the annuity you are considering. Ultimately, a deferred annuity can be valuable in providing a reliable income source and its contribution to ensuring a financially stable retirement.

Disclaimer: The discussion of deferred annuities is for general purposes and is not financial investment advice. It is advisable to consult your financial advisor to determine whether a deferred annuity suits your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Source: Investopedia

About Sarif

Hi, I am Sharif (B.Com) financial advisor with 8 years of working experience in Axis Bank.

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