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Q&A: "I am 66. Is it Wise to Buy an Annuity at 66 for Ten Years? The IRS Rules State a Sum Will Have to be Withdrawn to Report as Taxes When I am 70 1/2."

Insurance Retirement Accounts Tax

Question: 

I am 66. Is it wise to buy an annuity at 66 for ten years? The IRS rules state a sum will be have to be withdrawn to report as taxes when I am 70 1/2.

Answer: 

A lot more information is needed to give you a good answer.

First, a clarification on the withdrawals at age 70 1/2. What you're referring to is called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Those will only apply if you buy the annuity within a retirement account, such as an IRA. The annual RMDs are based on an IRS table with a life expectancy factor for your age and calculated against the December 31 account balance each prior year. 

Whether an annuity makes sense for you depends on a lot of factors, such as these:

  • What's your total financial picture and what other resources do you have for retirement? (other investments, retirement accounts, social security, pension, etc)
  • What do you want this annuity to do for you?
  • What kind of annuity are you considering? A lot of people speak of "annuities" as if it were one homogenous group. They're not. There are (1) fixed annuities, (2) fixed index annuities, and (3) variable annuities. There's also an (4) immediate annuity where you receive an income for life or a specific period (such as 10 years).
  • It's not clear why you'd buy the annuity for only 10 years. Are you considering an immediate annuity that would provide a guaranteed income for only 10 years? Were you approached by an annuity salesperson to buy an annuity with benefits riders that only work if you leave the funds in place for 10 years?

An annuity--either the one you're considering or another type--may be helpful for you, but a lot more information is needed. 

Hope that helps. All the best.