An annuity can help you accumulate tax-deferred earnings as part of your overall retirement plan. Annuities offer the opportunity for lifetime payments and tax-deferred earnings, and provide a guaranteed death benefit for your beneficiaries. All guarantees are backed by the continued claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.
An annuity is different from most other retirement savings vehicles — it's actually a contract between you and an insurance company. In return for making one or more premium payments, the insurance company agrees to provide you an income stream — usually during retirement. You can elect to receive payment all at once or as a series of payments, even for the rest of your life.