An annuity is an insurance policy which pays a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. The rate is fixed at the time the annuity is purchased. The amount of pension you receive will be based on your individual circumstances such as:
- The size of the pension fund you use to buy the annuity
- Your age
- Interest rates at the time of purchase
- Your health / lifestyle
- The options you select
- Your postcode (on the basis that people in certain areas have been shown to live longer than people in other areas)
Once the annuity has been purchased, it will usually not be possible to change its terms. In the event of death, there is no return of the remaining pension fund unless a protection option has been selected. However, there are a number of variations on the type of annuity offered.
Other types of annuities:
Enhanced annuity – pays a higher income to an individual if aspects of their lifestyle, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, weight or medical history may shorten life expectancy.
Impaired life annuity – pays a higher income than a standard annuity for those who have significantly lower life expectancy due to an existing medical condition.
Investment linked annuity – similar to a conventional lifetime annuity, but instead of the income being fixed, it is linked to the return on the underlying investments e.g. a ‘with profits’ fund.
We can provide guidance and advice on annuities which includes products from the whole market. For more information, please contact us.
You can choose to phase your annuity purchases by exchanging a proportion of the pension fund for an annuity and a proportion of the available tax-free lump sum on a regular (usually Annual) basis. This is known as ‘phased retirement’.
Phased retirement can be very attractive for individuals who have a more substantial pension fund. It provides wider choice and enables you, if required, to take a combination of tax-free lump sum and annuity payments, thereby reducing your income tax liability. By phasing retirement, it is possible to increase the guaranteed income received each year to suit your changing lifestyle and personal circumstances as you are able to consider different types of annuities each year.
On death before the age of 75, part, or all, of the remaining fund, which has not already been used to purchase a series of annuities, can be available as a lump sum to chosen beneficiaries.