Annuities in Your Portfolio: What You Need to Know

Most investors understand that the basic benefit of fixed annuities is that they offer the potential for a guaranteed payment. Regardless of whether the economy or markets are performing well or poorly, an annuity pays a minimum amount of income every month. But just how much money should you put in an annuity versus other investments?

When it comes to fixed annuity allocation, some financial advisors recommend that you put no more than a third of your assets into annuities. Others recommend that you limit it to three-fourths of your assets. But that’s a big difference.

The reason for the discrepancy is that some financial advisors feel they can get better returns for their clients by investing in a diversified portfolio of securities. But that’s a harder sell today than it used to be, given the huge losses the stock market has experienced in the past few years.

So how much money should you allocate to a fixed annuity? As is the case with any element of a portfolio, fixed annuities are best used in moderation. That’s because they’re a compelling way to guarantee a certain amount of fixed income in retirement. If overdone, however, they can rob a portfolio of flexibility.

No single answer fits every investor, but one guideline is to use an annuity to cover your basic living expenses. You may have to put a significant part of your nest egg into the annuity to receive the amount you need, but you’ll know it will be there, through good times and bad.