What will we be covering in this review of the American Life Classic Fixed Annuity?
In this annuity review, we will be going over the following details regarding the Classic Annuity from American Life:
- Type of annuity
- Charges and fees
- Current rates
- Realistic short- and long-term expectations of performance
- How this annuity may best be used
- Why this annuity may not fit in a portfolio
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Over the past several years, annuities have become a much more popular component of retirement planning. One reason for this is because, as people are living longer, having a retirement income that lasts much longer is necessary – and unlike any other insurance or financial product in the marketplace, an annuity is the only vehicle that can guarantee you an income for the remainder of your lifetime, regardless of how long that is.
Annuities aren’t just some new-fangled financial vehicle, either. In fact, annuities have actually been in existence ever since the Roman empire, although some believe that they were initially created in Egypt, somewhere between the year 1100 BC and 1700 BC.
When the Great Depression hit the U.S. in the 1930s, annuities gained popularity as a safe place from volatile markets. They again became a go-to product during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 – primarily fixed and fixed indexed annuities – because they don’t lose value, even in a downward spiraling market.
Fixed annuities have become particularly favored by those who are at or approaching retirement time, as people are getting much more leery about entrusting their savings to an extremely volatile stock market.
So, if you’ve been considering a fixed annuity like the American Classic from American Life because you want to ensure that your money is safe, and that you’ll have lifetime income that you can count on, this product could be a viable option for you.
But, before you go and plunk down a large chunk of your savings into this (or any) annuity, it is highly recommended that you first obtain an understanding about what a fixed annuity will and won’t do for you.
That’s where the Annuity Gator comes in!
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If your search for annuities has been conducted via the Internet, it is likely that you have come across a lot of conflicting details about these products. This isn’t really all that surprising though, as there is a multitude of different annuities in the market today, and there are numerous opinions about them.
Even though there are a number of very good websites that are focused on marketing their annuities online, the reality is that some of these sites will work hard at luring you in by touting some pretty impressive claims, such as:
- Highest income payouts
- Top rated annuity companies
- Guaranteed income for life
- Lowest annuity fees
Does this look familiar?
Yet, as enticing as these claims may be, you really should treat them as you would when considering any other high-dollar purchase. In other words, you need to make sure that these claims are backed up before you move forward. This can oftentimes require that you look a bit deeper into the “fine print” about the annuity you are considering. That’s where we come in.
If you really want to learn more about the Classic Fixed Annuity from American Life, then you have landed in the right place. In fact, we dare say that this website is the only place where you can find all of the key details that you need – including both the advantages and the drawbacks – which can be extremely helpful in helping you to make the right decision as to whether or not this annuity is best for you.
Oftentimes, when an insurance or financial salesperson is trying to sell fixed annuities, they will provide a nice and rosy picture of how these products can provide protection of principal, as well as a set rate of return.
However, in doing so, they can also tend to leave out some of the other important facts, which could be considered as drawbacks. (Can you say minuscule return?!) So, before you move a potentially sizeable chunk of your hard earned retirement savings into this (or any) fixed annuity, you need to ensure that you first have the whole story.
In order to be clear here, we will say that fixed annuities do offer some great benefits – provided that they coincide with your specific financial goals. So, it is essential that you know what you may be getting into, as well as why you are choosing one particular annuity over a myriad of other alternatives that may also be available to you.
So, if you’re ready to begin, let’s go ahead and dive in!
The American Life Classic Fixed Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||American Classic|
|Type of Product||Fixed Deferred Annuity|
|A.M. Best Rating||B++ (Good)|
|Phone Number||(402) 489-8266|
Opening Thoughts on the American Classic Annuity from American Life
Originally founded in 1960, American Life was restructured in 2018. Today, this company offers financially stable insurance products to customers so that they can ensure ongoing income in retirement and protect loved ones in case of the unexpected.
American Life is in a partnership with FAST, a leading digital platform, which allows customers to plan financially without ever having to leave the comfort of their home – a concept that has become so much more important since the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform also makes purchasing insurance and annuities fast and easy.
Without a significant amount of overhead expense, American Life possesses a flexible capital model that allows the insurer to quickly meet the changing demands of both its customers and the overall marketplace.
With so much volatility and unpredictability in the stock market over the past several years, the demand for fixed annuities has grown quite a bit, particularly as a way for retirees (and those who are preparing for retirement in the near future) to keep assets safe, and to ensure that they have a stable and reliable income going forward.
Unfortunately, though, due to the historically low interest rate environment that we’ve been stuck in for nearly a decade now, the return that has been offered by fixed annuities has been very low.
In fact, in many instances, the returns that are obtained on fixed annuities have not even been enough to outpace the inflation rate over time. Because of these low rates, your future purchasing power could be affected – especially if you plan to use the income from a fixed annuity as a primary source of your retirement income down the road.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some necessary legal disclosures…
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. American Life has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This annuity review is meant solely to be an independent review at the request of our readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to committing to the purchase of any type of insurance and/or investment vehicle, it is critical that you do your own due diligence, and that you also talk with a properly licensed professional if you have any questions that relate to your specific situation. All of the names, materials, and marks that have been used in compiling this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
For additional information on how to compare fixed annuities so that you can decide which may be the best one for you, contact us using our secure contact form.
How American Life Describes the American Classic Fixed Annuity
On its website, American Life describes the American Classic annuity as a financial vehicle that allows for a simple and secure way to manage money into retirement.
The American Classic is a fixed deferred annuity, meaning that multiple contributions may be made into the product over time. These funds are allowed to grow tax-deferred, which means that there is no tax due on the gain until the time of withdrawal.
Being a multi-year guarantee, or MYGA, annuity, the American Classic provides several different interest rate guarantee periods. These, in turn, provide a low-risk and predictable return that is insulated from economic volatility.
At the end of the rate guarantee period, you can choose to either withdraw your initial premium – along with your guaranteed return – without paying a penalty. Alternatively, you could roll the account value into a new product.
There are some other enticing features found on the American Classic annuity, too, such as a death benefit that will pay out if the income recipient (the annuitant) dies during the term of the annuity.
In addition, there is a “loyalty bonus” that rewards annuity holders for not making any withdrawals during the interest rate guarantee period. This can provide you with even more money in the account.
As with other annuities, the American Classic can be converted into an income stream. These payments can last for a set period of time, such as 10 or 20 years, or for the remainder of your lifetime, regardless of how long they are needed.
To visit the American Classic Annuity information on the American Life website, go here.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this Annuity
Given all of the guarantees that a fixed annuity can provide, it is likely that if you have been presented with the American Classic Annuity by an insurance or financial advisory, they touched on the safety of principal, set amount of growth (that is locked in for a predetermined period of time), and the reliability of the income you can receive.
What the advisor might not focus on, though, is the fact that most fixed annuities offer a painfully low rate of return – in some cases in the same neighborhood as CDs and government bonds. So unfortunately, even though your principal is safe, you would be hard pressed to meet, much less beat inflation.
What About Fees on the American Classic Annuity?
Even though there is no up-front commission deducted from your contributions to the American Classic annuity, it doesn’t mean that you won’t incur any type of charges or fees with this financial vehicle.
In this case, for example, if you withdraw more than a certain amount from your account (typically 10% of the contract’s value), you will usually be hit with a surrender penalty. The length of the surrender charge period corresponds with the length of the interest rate guarantee period.
There could also be taxes due on any of the gains that are accessed. Plus, if you take such withdrawals before you have turned age 59 ½, you may also incur an additional 10% IRS early withdrawal penalty.
So, taking money out of the annuity can definitely cost you. With that in mind, it is important to make sure that you don’t contribute funds that may need to be used for emergencies and/or other obligations in the future.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the American Classic Annuity from American Life
Where it works best:
This particular annuity will usually work the best for those who are looking for:
- Guaranteed lifetime income
- Safety of principal
- Slow and steady tax-deferred growth
- An interest rate guarantee for a set period of time
Where it works the worst:
The American Classic annuity may not be an ideal fit if you:
- Want access to most or all of your funds within the first several years (during the surrender period)
- Are seeking a high rate of return on your money
- Do not intend to use the lifetime income feature
In order to know how to really compare the best annuity options for you, click here so that you can download our free annuity report.
There is literally a myriad of factors that should be taken into consideration when you are determining which annuity is right for you – even IF any annuity is right for you. In any case, though, annuities should always be considered as long-term financial endeavors, and because of that, you should feel comfortable that the one you ultimately go with can help you to reach your goals.
If you are still leaning towards the purchase of a fixed annuity, though, like the American Classic annuity from American Life, you can be assured that your principal will be safe, and in this case, that you will have a certain rate of return to count on, no matter what is happening in the stock market.
However, even with these nice benefits, the American Classic annuity could still fall somewhat short – and quite frankly, there very well could be a better option out there for you – particularly if you are focused on getting a guaranteed lifetime income in retirement AND the opportunity to earn a higher rate of return.
If you still have any questions with regard to whether or not this annuity is right for you – or, even if you just simply need some additional guidance about annuities in general, then please feel free to reach out to us directly via our secure contact form here.
Do You Have Any Additional Questions or Concerns Regarding the American Classic Annuity? Did You Happen to Notice Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?
While this review of the American Classic annuity from American Life ran a bit long, our feeling here is that we would much rather provide you with “too many” details versus not nearly enough. Therefore, if you did find this review helpful to you, then please feel free to share it with others that you think might benefit, too.
We also understand that annuity product information can change frequently. Therefore, if you happened to notice that any of the information in this annuity review was incorrect, then please let us know and we will do our best to get that updated as soon as possible.
Also, if this annuity review made this product even more confusing – and/or if it happened to spark any additional questions or concerns – please let us know that, too and we will work to make the information clearer.
Are there any other annuity reviews that you would like to see posted on our website?
If so, we’ll get on it! Just simply tell us the name of the annuity (or annuities, if more than one) and our highly trained team of annuity “geeks” will start working on those – so be sure to check back soon for updates, as well as a whole host of new annuity reviews!
The Annuity Gator
P.S. If you would like to read more of our American Life annuity reviews here are some links to check out.
- Independent Review of the American Life American Classic 5 Annuity
- Independent Review of the American Life American Select Annuity