Certified Retirement Financial Advisor Darcy Bergen draws from more than 20 years of financial services experience to guide clients in managing their wealth. Darcy Bergen founded Bergen Financial Group, a private advisory firm specializing in retirement, tax strategies, wealth management, estate planning, life insurance, and income strategies.
An annuity is a contract with an insurance company that provides an individual with a minimum income stream during retirement following a set fund contribution, which can come in one lump sum or through regular contributions. Annuities can be either fixed or variable.
A fixed annuity generates a fixed amount of income each year based on a given number of purchase payments. Insurance companies pool the purchase payments from different account holders and invest them in high-quality corporate debt and government bonds. The insurance companies assume the risk and continue to pay the set amount even if the investments perform poorly.
A variable annuity does not guarantee regular income payments to the investor but provides an opportunity to generate greater payouts based on the performance of the underlying assets. The annuitant directs the insurance company to invest the pooled purchase payments into certain mutual funds. While there is a potential of earning more on variable annuities, investors also assume the risks of any potential loss due to a stock crash or other market uncertainties.