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“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick
This is a guest article by Steven Hart
As everyone knows, the Internet allows easy access to information and the ability for someone to remain anonymous while they search for the exact piece of information that they need.
The search for annuity information and quotes online is no different. The Internet can be very helpful to an investor who is looking to obtain annuity quotes and tips. However, as with all Internet searching, there are a few things that every potential annuity purchaser should consider before getting any annuity quote online:
1. Is the company/website legitimate?
A big advantage to the Internet is also a big problem. Anyone can put any information they want online, including people who are looking to commit fraud. Make sure that the life insurance company or annuity quote website is legitimate before the information obtained from the site is used in any purchase decision. To verify the insurance company, contact the state department of insurance to check the company’s standing with the agency.
2. Is the company that is offering the annuity financially stable? Most insurance companies are financially stable, but it does not hurt to check the financial ratings of a company that may be of interest. Independent rating agencies, such as Standard & Poors, A.M. Best, and Fitch periodically rate all major insurance companies.
3. Are the contracts that are being compared the same?
There are only three basic types of annuities: fixed, variable, and indexed. However, many companies call their annuity products by slightly different names. Likewise, the options and fees may be called something slightly different when looking at quotes from two different companies. Take the time to ready the fine print and make sure that the comparison that is being made is a good one.
4. Are there further questions about the annuity products or quotes that are not answered online?
Online annuity quotes offer anonymity which allows potential customers the freedom to browse various insurance companies’ websites and products without the pressure of a sales person. However, the right comparison information to make the final purchase decision may not be available or may be confusing. If this is the case, consult a trustworthy financial planner to help lead the way through the terminology. When comparison shopping for annuities online, it is important to remember that different annuities are better suited to different types of investors. The Internet can be used as an education tool to help decide what type of annuity is best for you. For example, an equity index annuity is well-suited for investors who have an investment horizon of five or more years, making it a good choice for retirement planning. Another example is that immediate annuities are for investors that need to start receiving income soon after the premium is paid to the insurance company, i.e., retirees. And, lifetime annuities may be a good choice for a purchaser who has reached retirement age and is looking for a way to insurance against outliving his retirement savings. Beyond the three basic annuity types, there are a variety of options to choose from with annuities. As such, it is important for any investor to consider their own objectives and needs to make the online annuity experience quicker and easier.
For more information from Steven on how to invest in annuities, their pros & cons, and common investment mistakes, visit his Annuities Investment Guide. To learn more about securing your retirement with fixed annuities, visit the Fixed Annuities Guide.
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