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Annuities

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Annuities offer you guaranteed income for life—​in any market.

A Schwab Financial Consultant can work with you to see if an annuity—​and the steady, secure income stream it provides—​would complement your retirement income plan.

Keep in mind that Schwab’s variable annuity fees are 30%–50% below the industry average.¹

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Annuity Frequently Asked Questions


Annuities are contracts between you and an insurance company that can provide you income through a unique combination of investment and insurance features. Annuities can complement other retirement plans and, depending on what type you select, they may provide guaranteed lifetime income, opportunities for tax-deferred growth, flexible withdrawals, and legacy protection for your beneficiaries. Guarantees subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

In a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA), also known as an income annuity, your assets can become a guaranteed income stream for life or for a specific period of time that you can depend on to help cover some of your expenses in retirement. For an additional cost, SPIA's may also offer a cost-of-living-adjustment that can increase your income to help address rising costs.

Fixed annuities, sometimes referred to as fixed deferred annuities, provide guaranteed asset growth at a fixed rate for a specific time period. The growth is tax-deferred which can help you accumulate more assets instead of paying taxes during the accumulation phase, and your assets are protected from market uncertainty. If you choose to receive guaranteed income, you can choose income for life or for a specific time period.

With a variable annuity, investments, often called sub-accounts, are chosen from within the annuity. The performance of the investments determines the value of the account and subsequently, the amount of income you will receive. The growth of the investments is tax-deferred which can help you accumulate more, instead of paying taxes during the accumulation phase. If you choose to receive guaranteed income, you can choose income for life or for a specific time period.

A fixed annuity provides the stability of a fixed, guaranteed rate of return while variable annuities have the potential for tax-deferred growth and a chance to participate in the market through a variety of professionally managed portfolios. Guarantees subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

Charles Schwab offers income annuities (single premium immediate annuities—SPIA's), fixed deferred annuities and low-cost variable annuities¹ with an optional guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB).

SPIA's can be a fit for you if you're seeking a guaranteed, steady retirement income you can't outlive.

Fixed deferred annuities could fit into your retirement strategy if you're looking for guaranteed growth for a fixed time period that remains free from the risk of the market.

Low-cost variable annuities from Charles Schwab offer the potential for tax-deferred investment growth, professionally managed investment options, and the ability to withdraw your assets at any time without surrender charges2. The variable annuities with an optional GLWB, available for an additional cost, can provide protection of lifetime income for you and your spouse. The variable annuities with an optional death benefit can provide you with the confidence in knowing your assets are protected for your beneficiaries3

A Schwab Financial Consultant can help you determine which annuities would fit your retirement strategy. If you already have an annuity and feel it may not be meeting your current needs, a Schwab Financial Consultant can perform an analysis to determine whether it may make sense to exchange your current annuity to one at Schwab.

Before deciding to replace you existing contract, however, please consider any surrender charges on your existing contract; possible loss of guaranteed benefits; differences in features, costs, services, and company strength; and other factors which could reduce or eliminate the benefit of the exchange.

Note: A GLWB is not a contract value and is not available for withdrawal like a cash value. The actual contract value will deplete with each withdrawal.

Annuities can be a good addition to a retirement strategy and can create certainty for retirement income. They can help protect you from outliving your assets. Asset growth in annuities is tax-deferred, compound free from current taxation, which can help you accumulate more, instead of paying taxes during the accumulation phase. They may provide a varied mix of investment options and can guarantee an income stream for life in retirement. Another benefit of variable annuities may be the potential for market growth while also limiting risk to future income with the purchase of an optional GLWB rider. Guarantees subject to the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

A Schwab Financial Consultant can help you determine which annuities may fit your retirement strategy.

Annuity fees will vary depending on the product. Typically you will see insurance charges (pays for the guarantees that the insurance company provides), surrender charges (charges on an early withdrawal based on the time period of the policy or cancellation of the policy), investment fees (pays for the management of the underlying investment options), and fees for optional living benefits or optional death benefits. 

Withdrawals from an annuity will reduce the value of your annuity, and withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax. Also, note that withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% Federal tax penalty. 

The performance of the underlying investment options are subject to market fluctuation and are not guaranteed.

A Schwab Financial Consultant can help you determine which annuities may fit your retirement strategy.

Annuity earnings are tax-deferred during the accumulation phase, which means you do not pay taxes on any earnings each year; you pay taxes on earnings only when you withdraw your money. Any withdrawals of taxable amounts are taxed as ordinary income, and you may be subject to a 10% Federal tax penalty if you take them before age 59½.

Charles Schwab offers various financial tools to help you with your retirement and planning. Work with your Financial Consultant to determine which product or products are a good fit for you.

Annuities have death benefits and optional death benefits. Optional death benefits are available for an additional cost.

An account value death benefit will provide your beneficiaries the amount of your remaining contract value, if any.

A return of premium or purchase payments death benefit provides your beneficiaries with the greater of the account value or the total premium payments less withdrawals. Premium taxes may apply.

A stepped-up death benefit offers you the potential to lock in market gains for your beneficiaries. Adjustments are made for additional premium payments and withdrawals.

A Schwab Financial Consultant can help you determine which annuities may fit your retirement strategy.

Variable annuities are sold by prospectus only. You can request a prospectus by calling 888-311-4887 or by visiting schwab.com/annuity. Before purchasing a variable annuity, you should carefully read the prospectus and consider the investment objectives and all risks, charges, and expenses associated with the annuity and its investment options.



Brokerage and insurance products: Are not deposits • Are not FDIC-insured • Are not insured by any federal government agency • Are not guaranteed by the bank or any affiliate of the bank • May lose value

Variable annuities are sold by prospectus only. Before purchasing an annuity, you should carefully read the prospectus and consider its investment objectives and all the risks, charges, and expenses associated with the annuity and its investment options. For this and other information and to request a prospectus, call Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. at 888-311-4889 or click here.