An annuity is a long-term investment designed to create income during your retirement years. Annuities are issued by insurance companies, and are started either with a lump sum payment or a series of payments. The insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you either immediately, or some time in the future. Annuities offer tax-deferred growth, and may include a death benefit to make sure that your beneficiary receives a guaranteed amount.
Annuities are popular because they combine features of both life insurance and investments. In toady's volatile market, it is a good idea for some people to have a conservative investment tool such as an annuity in their portfolio.
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