retirement

Higher Interest Rates Mean Annuities Are Paying More These Days

Put more money in your pocket.

Retirees interested in the security of guaranteed income often turn to immediate annuities, which provide regular payments that begin right away in exchange for a lump-sum investment. In recent years, that guarantee has come at a price: Low interest rates have depressed monthly payments. But rates have begun to move up and are expected to climb higher. Annuity payouts are rising, too.

QUIZ: Are Annuities Right for You?

In October 2016, a 65-year-old man who invested $100,000 in a single-life immediate annuity would have received an average monthly payment of $506, says ImmediateAnnuities.com. The average monthly payment recently was $567, up 12%.

The Federal Reserve raised the rate for overnight bank loans by 0.25 percentage point in March and signaled that it plans at least two more hikes this year. You may be inclined to postpone an annuity purchase until those hikes take effect. But if the economy falters, the Fed could put off those increases. If rates fall, you’ll have missed a chance to lock in current rates.

One way around this problem is to build an annuity ladder. Suppose you have $200,000 to invest. Instead of investing it all at once, you might invest $50,000 this year and another $50,000 every two years until you’ve spent the entire amount. If rates rise, you can take advantage of them. And if rates fall, you’ll have locked in at least some of your money at current rates.

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