What will we be going over in this annuity review?
In this review of the Equitable Life & Casualty Secure Savings Elite 5 annuity, we will be covering the following information:
- Annuity type
- How the annuity works
- Pros and cons
- Fees to look out for
- Where it may or may not fit in a financial plan
Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in.
We make the complex, simple.
If you’re thinking about buying an annuity because you want to be sure that you have a guaranteed stream of income in retirement, while at the same time keeping your money safe from market volatility, then a multi-year guaranteed annuity like the Equitable Life and Casualty Secure Savings Elite 5 multi-year guarantee (MYGA) annuity could be a good option for you.
That is because with an MYGA annuity, you can lock in a set interest rate for a certain period of time (in this case, for five years), knowing that your money will grow. These types of annuities can also offer you a lifetime income option (in some cases for two individuals, such as spouses or partners), so that you can stop worrying about running out of income in retirement.
But, hold on a minute!
Before you run out and commit to this annuity – or for that matter, before you make a commitment to purchasing any annuity or other financial product – it is recommended that you first have a good understanding of how it works, and how it may (or how it may not) work for you and your specific financial goals and needs.
MYGA annuities can have a long list of “rules” to abide by. For instance, you may be able to re-invest your proceeds at another set rate, once your initial time frame has elapsed. But that may or may not be the best idea, based on your specific needs.
This can make it even more essential that you read over all of the fine print before you commit what could be a large percentage of your savings to this annuity. Otherwise, it could cost you a substantial amount to get out of it down the road.
That’s where the Annuity Gator comes in!
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information that You Can Trust
If this the first time you have visited our website, we would like to officially welcome you here to Annuity Gator. We are a team of annuity and retirement income specialists focus on offering comprehensive – yet non-biased – annuity reviews online. You can check these out in our Annuity Review Database on our website.
We have been educating both consumers and financial professionals about annuities for quite some time now – far longer than our competitors have – even though many of them would like to have you think otherwise.
Due to our wide range of experience and longevity in this arena, we have become very good at what we do, and we’ve actually come to be known as a highly trusted source of annuity information online.
If you have been reviewing annuities on the Internet, it’s possible that you have come across some conflicting information about these financial products. This, however, isn’t really all that surprising to us because there are many different types of annuities, and there many different thoughts about them.
Likewise, even though a particular annuity might be the right solution for someone else, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right solution for you and your specific objectives. This, in turn, is why it is so important to discuss your situation, your goals, and your options with an annuity specialist.
In any case, if you’ve been seeking more information about the Secure Savings Elite 5 MYGA annuity from Equitable Life, then you are in the right place. In fact, dare we say that our website is the only place online where you can obtain all of the information that you require for making a well-informed purchasing decision about this annuity.
Before we get too far into this review, though, we do want to be perfectly clear in stating that we believe that annuities can be a very viable financial option for some people – provided that they fit in with your other short- and long-term financial goals.
So, if you’re ready to begin, let’s go ahead and dive in!
The Equitable Secure Savings Elite 5 Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuity (MYGA) at a Glance
|Product Name||Secure Savings Elite 5|
|Issuer||Equitable Life & Casualty|
|Type of Product||MYGA (Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity)|
|A.M. Best Rating||B+|
|Phone Number||(800) 352-5150|
Opening Thoughts on the Secure Savings Elite 5 Annuity from Equitable Life and Casualty
Since 1935, Equitable Life and Casualty Insurance Company has operated under the guiding principles of everyday excellence and compassion for its customers. Throughout its 80+ year history, Equitable has been a pioneer in emerging markets.
For instance, in 1965, Medicare Supplement Insurance was developed, followed by Equitable beginning to develop and market long-term care insurance products in 1974. This tradition has continued with the company introducing fixed and fixed indexed annuities to its line-up in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
As of mid-2019, Equitable had more than $952 million in admitted assets, which is a 96% increase from just one year prior. In addition, based on the Wink Sales Rankings, Equitable’s Secure Savings 5 annuity was #1. (The company also earned a #2 ranking by Wink for overall carrier, and a #10 ranking for MYGA annuities – in the independent agent channel).
Equitable has been strengthening its balance sheet over the past few years, and as of mid-2019’s figures, the company has more than $163 million in total income, and a net gain from operations of over $4.2 million.
Because fewer companies are offering defined benefit pension plans today, it is up to many individuals to make sure that they have enough income to last them throughout the remainder of their retirement years. This, however, can be a difficult task, especially given that people are living longer life spans, meaning that savings must be stretched out for a longer period of time.
One way to help with creating a guaranteed lifetime income for yourself – while also keeping your hard-earned principal safe and allowing market-linked growth – is through the purchase of an MYGA annuity.
These tax-deferred financial vehicles provide safety when the market is down, along with an amount of return that you can count on for a set period of time. At the end of the time frame, you have the option to re-invest your funds at the then-current rates. Or alternatively, you can take your funds out of the annuity penalty-free.
But, while this may at first glance seem like an ideal way to go with your savings, if something sounds too good to be true, it typically is! With that in mind, it is essential that you go over the “fine print” before you move forward with the purchase.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures…
This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Equitable Life and Casualty has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This review is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to purchasing any type of investment or insurance product, it is important that you do your own due diligence and that you consult a properly licensed professional if you should have any specific questions that relate to your individual circumstances. All names, marks, and materials that were used for this review are the property of their respective owners.
For more information on how to compare annuities in order to determine which one may be right for you, click here to obtain our free annuity report.
How Equitable Describes Its Secure Savings Elite 5 MYGA Annuity
Equitable Life and Casualty describes its Secure Savings annuity series as a good fit for those who are looking for the following benefits:
- Growth that you can count on
- No long-term commitment
- Protection of principal
- Tax-deferred growth
- Access to funds
- Wealth transfer
- Income options
It’s product brochure for the Secure Savings annuity goes on to say that this annuity offers strong guaranteed interest rate crediting that is paired with built-in liquidity and full account value payable at the death of the owner.
This single premium annuity allows you to contribute a minimum of just $10,000 up to a maximum of $500,000 – or possible even more, provided that you obtain home office approval for a larger sum.
You can choose a guarantee period of 5 years (or alternatively, 2 years) on the Secure Savings Elite annuity. And, the longer the guarantee period, the higher the guaranteed compound interest rate will be.
Because the names are so similar, it is important to understand the difference between the regular Equitable Secure Savings annuity and the Secure Savings Elite version. In this case, for instance, the Secure Savings Elite offers a higher credited rate than the regular Secure Savings annuity.
In addition, the Elite version of this annuity also allows you to “customize” the product to best fit your specific needs. So, according to the product brochure, if you are looking to maximize your interest rate and you also want to tailor the annuity to your unique objectives, then the Secure Savings Elite annuity is for you.
With that in mind, the Elite version of the Secure Savings annuity is great if you already have access to funds for emergencies and / or other financial obligations, and you want the highest guaranteed interest rate, along with “full control and the ability to choose only the withdrawal features that you need.”
Once the rate guarantee period has elapsed, you will have the option to renew the annuity. In this case, you’ll have a 30-day window of time to select a new guaranteed interest rate. During this time frame, you can:
- Continue the contract
- Apply the account value to an income option
- Take a partial withdrawal, with no surrender charges or market value adjustment, and continue the annuity with the remaining account value, or
- Surrender the annuity with no surrender charge or market value adjustment
The Secure Savings Elite annuity also has some liquidity riders available. These include the:
- Accumulated Interest Rider – Starting in the first policy year, the interest that is credited may be withdrawn.
- Required Minimum Distribution Rider – Also starting in the first year, required minimum distributions (RMDs) may be withdrawn without penalty.
- 5% Penalty-Free Withdrawal Rider – Beginning in the second policy year, 5% of the account value can be withdrawn without penalty.
To check out all of the details on the Equitable Life & Casualty Secure Savings and Secure Savings Elite 5 MYGA annuity, you can read the full customer brochure HERE.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this Annuity
With interest rates in the U.S. still at historical lows, it can be extremely difficult to secure a good return on your money without having to incur more risk as a “tradeoff.” The Secure Savings Elite 5 annuity from Equitable Life and Casualty allows you to lock in a competitive interest rate, and receive that rate for five full years – even if rates drop lower in the economy as a whole.
Plus, when the time comes for you to turn on the income stream (if you choose to do so), you could choose an option that ensures you won’t run out of money in the future, no matter how long you may need it to keep flowing in.
With that in mind, it is these guarantees that an insurance or financial advisor who shows you this annuity will likely focus on. But don’t let yourself be distracted by these “smoke screens,” because oftentimes, when something seems too good to be true it usually is!
In this case, for instance, locking in a rate is interest is fine – unless, of course, rates go up in the near future. With today’s pitifully low rates, interest really has nowhere else to go but up – so, if you’ve locked in a considerable sum in this annuity for five full years, you could find that you’ll miss out on other, more lucrative opportunities.
Plus, while insurance companies will oftentimes exclaim that their annuities are “liquid,” this is not the case, at least entirely. That’s because you will find a surrender charge if you decide to withdraw more than 10% of your contract value during the annuity’s surrender period. With that in mind, be sure that you are aware of how long you will have to have your money “locked in.”
What About Fees on the Equitable Life & Casualty Secure Savings Elite 5 Annuity?
Related to this lack of liquidity, it could actually end up costing you if you cancel the Secure Savings Elite 5 annuity contract – or even if you withdraw more than 10% of the contract’s value within the surrender period.
In this case – as with most other multi-year guarantee annuities – the surrender charge period corresponds with the rate guarantee period. The surrender charge starts at 9% in Year 1, and then gradually grades down until it goes to 0% in Year 6.
Equitable Life & Casualty Secure Savings Elite 5 Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule
|Surrender Charge %||9||8||7||6||5||0|
In addition, if you make such withdrawals before you turn age 59 ½, you can also be hit with an additional 10% “early withdrawal” penalty from the IRS. So, it is important to make sure that the money you use to purchase this (or any) annuity is not something you will need to rely on for emergencies in the future.
You can take a look at the fact sheet for the Secure Savings Elite 5 annuity by going HERE.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Secure Savings Elite 5 MYGA Annuity from Equitable
Where it works best:
Although the Equitable Life & Casualty Secure Savings Elite 5 annuity may not be the ideal option for everyone, it could be a good addition to your portfolio if you are seeking the following features:
- The option to lock in a rate for five full years
- Protection of your principal – even in a downward moving market
- Guaranteed income in retirement (for you and another individual, if you choose)
Where it works the worst:
- This particular annuity may not, however, work very well in all situations. This is especially the case if you:
- Want or need to access more than just 10% of your money during the surrender period
- Don’t want to miss out on any opportunity cost within the 5-year surrender charge window
- Do not plan to use the lifetime income feature on the annuity
When you’re thinking over the purchase of an annuity, it is absolutely essential that you consider a number of factors and financial probabilities for your specific situation and goals – for both the short- and the long-term time horizon.
These should typically include the annuity’s options for growing your money, as well as the way that it keeps your principal safe. And, because many people purchase annuities for the purpose of receiving long-term income, this too is extremely important.
If you’re still thinking about purchasing the Equitable Secure Savings 5 or the Secure Savings Elite 5 MYGA annuity, you can rest assured that your money will be safe, no matter what happens in the market. You can also count on a lifetime income in the future.
But, even with all of the alluring benefits that this annuity can provide you with, there could still quite honestly be a better option out there for you. With that in mind, it can be extremely beneficial to have this annuity tested, based on your specific parameters.
Have Any Additional Questions? Did You Notice Any Mistakes on this Annuity Review?
We know that this annuity review went a bit on the long side – and because of that, we would like to thank you for seeing it through here to the end. That being said, though, we would much rather provide you with “too much” information about these annuity products than not provide you with enough.
Therefore, if you felt that this annuity review was helpful to you, please do feel free to share it and forward it to anyone else that you think might also benefit from it. Likewise, if this review posed even more questions about the Multi-Select annuity, please let us know that, too.
Are there any other annuities that you would like to have us review and post in our Annuity Review Database?
If so, send ‘em on over to us!
There is a long list of annuity products out there in the marketplace today. So, if there is one (or more than one) that you would like to have us review, then please let us know the name, or names, of the annuity, and our annuity “geeks” will get to it ASAP.
Thank you for visiting our AnnuityGator.com site and be sure to check back often for new and updated information regarding all things annuity.
The Annuity Gator
P.S. If you would like to read more of our Equitable Life and Casualty annuity reviews here are some links to check out:
- Independent Review of the Equitable Life and Casualty Secure Savings 5 Annuity.
- Independent Review of the Equitable Life & Casualty Secure Savings Elite 2