Fast Facts
  •  8/31/2021

Annuity Fast Facts: Fixed Indexed Annuities

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Annuity Fast Facts

A series to create increased awareness of annuities by providing market color, friendly tips, and interesting stats at-a-glance.

A deferred annuity is a long-term tax deferred investment issued by an insurance company and purchased through a qualified professional.

There are four main types:


Fixed indexed annuities can provide a degree of market upside with full protection against market loss.

Did you know?

For more than 5 decades, conservative investors have used fixed annuities that offer more interest than what’s typically paid on bank Certificate of Deposits (CDs) while still maintaining a guarantee against loss.

Today, investors have another option. Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) provide the same principal guarantee as traditional fixed annuities. For investors willing to give up the certainty of returns provided by traditional fixed annuities, FIAs have the potential to return more per year than fixed annuities.

  • Unlike fixed annuities though, FIAs offer a return based on the change in price in a reference index, such as the S&P 500. They typically also offer a minimum guaranteed interest rate each year.

Not an alternative to stocks!

While interest earned may be determined by an equity index, FIAs should never be thought of as an alternative to equities. Because the insurance company protects the investor against loss, the investor can only earn interest on a portion of any positive return in the index, regardless of which crediting strategy is used to calculate interest.

Tax fact: keep more to earn more

With a fixed indexed annuity, interest in an investor’s contract grows tax-deferred and annual tax savings stay in the account to earn interest, thereby growing savings faster, until funds are withdrawn. Contrast that to a CD, where earned interest is taxable every year.

A powerful feature

In an FIA, interest is calculated based on the return of the index over a specific crediting period (typically one-year long). For any crediting period that the reference index declines, an investor would earn 0% interest, but would not take any losses. More importantly, when a new crediting period starts, investors don’t have to wait for the market to recover before they begin to earn interest – returns for each crediting period are calculated based on the index’s level at the start of each crediting period.

Interesting stat

While traditional fixed annuities have been around longer than FIAs, many investors today are more willing to trade a certain return for an unknown, but potentially higher, return.

  • For example, if the price of the index falls one crediting period from 4,000 to 3,000, an investor will not earn any interest. For the next crediting period, the index level starts at 3,000, and the investor can earn interest as long as the index level is higher than 3,000 at the end of the crediting period.

  • Fixed indexed annuities and structured annuities together accounted for 40% of overall annuity sales in 2021 as investors sought to balance protection and growth.1

Know that FIAs:

  • May earn 0% interest in a crediting period if the market declines
  • Are not FDIC insured like CDs are. Guarantees under a fixed annuity contract are backed by the issuing insurance company and subject to its claims paying ability
  • Are considered a long-term investment, typically carrying penalties (such as a surrender charge) if money is withdrawn during the stated surrender period
  • Come with an additional 10% federal tax penalty for withdrawals prior to age 59½


Our previous article on fixed indexed annuities explains how they work and the role they play in an investment portfolio. Find it, along with our complete library of articles and videos on

1 Deferred Annuities – What goes into the buying decision? – Secured Retirement Inst., 2019

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©2022 SIMON Markets LLC. All Rights Reserved. | Originally published 2021.08 | Updated 2022.08

This is not intended to be an offer or solicitation to purchase or sell any security or to employ a specific investment strategy. This material is intended as general background information, for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a primary basis to make a decision to purchase an annuity contract. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and does not take into account any specific investment objectives or financial situation of 
any investor. The information is not intended as investment advice and is not a recommendation about managing or investing retirement savings. Actual annuity contracts may differ materially from the general overview provided.

Prior to making any decision with respect to an annuity contract, purchasers must review, as applicable, the offering document, the disclosure document, and the buyer’s guide which contain detailed and additional information about the annuity. Any annuity contract is subject in its entirety is to the terms and conditions imposed by the carrier under the contract. Withdrawals or surrenders may be subject to surrender charges, and/or market value adjustments, which can reduce the owner’s contract value or the actual withdrawal amount received. Withdrawals and distributions of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax and, if made prior to age 59½, may be subject to an additional 10% federal income tax penalty. Annuities are not FDIC-insured. All references to guarantees arising under an annuity contract are subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the carrier. This does not constitute legal, accounting or tax advice, and the recipient should consult with his or her legal, accounting or tax adviser regarding the instruments described in this material.

SIMON Markets LLC operates a technology platform that makes available offerings of structured investments and annuities to financial professionals. In operating this technology platform, SIMON Markets LLC earns revenue based on the volume of transactions that take place in these products and would benefit by an increase in sales for these products. This material may not, without SIMON’s prior written consent, be (i) copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form, by any means, or (ii) distributed to any person that is not an employee, officer, director, or authorized agent of the recipient. SIMON shall have no liability, contingent or otherwise, to the user or to third parties, for the quality, accuracy, timeliness, continued availability, or completeness or to update any data contained in this material nor for any special, indirect, incidental or consequential damages which may be incurred or experienced because of the use of the data made available herein, even if SIMON has been advised of the possibility of such damages. This material was not prepared with a view to public disclosure or to conform with any disclosure standards under any state, federal or international securities laws or other laws, rules or regulations, and SIMON Markets LLC does not take any responsibility for the use of the information in this material.

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