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Independent Review of the Great American Index Summit 6 Variable-Indexed Annuity

What will we cover in this annuity review?

In this review, we will go over the following features that relate to the Great American Index Summit 6 variable-indexed annuity:
  • Type of productGreat American Life AssurancePlus 7
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term return expectations
  • How the annuity is used best
  • How the annuity is more poorly used

Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in. We make the complex, simple.

If you’ve been worried about having enough income to last you through retirement, then it is possible that you’ve looked into purchasing an annuity. Not only can these financial vehicles provide you with an ongoing cash flow in the future, but depending on the type of annuity you choose, you can also attain tax-deferred growth in your account during the “accumulation period”. But before you make a commitment to any annuity, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what the product will and won’t do for you. Annuities can be complicated – especially some of the newer versions that have a lot of “moving parts”. In addition, once you have committed to an annuity, it can typically be difficult to get your money back – at least without paying a surrender charge – if you determine later on that it really isn’t the right financial tool for you. That’s where the Annuity Gator comes in. Our goal is to educate consumers about the different types of annuity products, and where they may (or may not) fit into your short- and/or long-term financial objectives. Our annuity review database included in-depth reviews on hundreds of different annuities from a long list of insurance carriers.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

If you have never visited our website before, please allow us to personally welcome you here. Annuity Gator is made up of a term of financial and annuity pros who focus on providing in-depth, unbiased reviews of all types of annuities online. We’ve been at this for quite some time now – far longer than our competitors have – although you may have landed on some of their websites, too. Many of these other sites will work hard to lure you in by making some pretty bold claims, such as:
  • Highest annuity rates
  • Low fees
  • High payouts
  • 7 – 8% annual return
While we wish that this information was true, the reality is that these websites are really only giving you part of the story. On our site, however, you will find that we dig into the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly. So, although our annuity reviews don’t always paint a nice rosy picture of these financial vehicles, they can help you to realistically anticipate what may happen going forward if you buy an annuity. This isn’t to say that annuities are bad products. In fact, quite the contrary. We think that annuities have a place in many investors’ and retirees’ portfolios…provided that it’s the right annuity for the individual’s specific needs and objectives. That being said, if you’ve come here looking for more details on the Index Summit 6 annuity from Great American Life, you are definitely in the right place. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Great American Life Index Summit 6 Annuity at a Glance

Product NameIndex Summit 6
IssuerGreat American Life
Type of ProductVariable Indexed Annuity
A.M. Best RatingA (Excellent)
Phone Number(800) 545-4269

Opening Thoughts on the Great American Life’s Index Summit 6 Annuity

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Great American Life traces its roots all the way back to the year 1872. The company has a key focus on annuities, and it offers a wide array of products that can help grow funds and generate income when it is needed. Today, Great American Life Insurance Company is a member of Great American Insurance Group and a subsidiary of American Financial Group, Inc. The company has earned high ratings from the insurer rating agencies, including an A (Excellent) from A.M. Best for more than forty consecutive years. It is also rated an A+ by Standard & Poor’s. Great American offers a long list of different types of annuities, including fixed, fixed indexed, variable, and variable indexed – the latter being an annuity where you can grow your account based on the performance of an external index, and also choose a level of protection from market declines. Upon purchasing a variable-indexed annuity, you will have the opportunity to select from indexed strategies that offer you the ability to earn returns that are based, in part, on market performance. That’s the good news. The funds in an index strategy earn returns that are based in part on the positive performance of an external market index, such as the S&P 500. When the index performance is positive during a given window of time, then your annuity will earn a return – which may be limited either by a maximum gain or upside participation rate. When the index performance is negative during a certain time period, the variable indexed annuity may lose value – but this can be limited by either a maximum amount of loss or downside participation rate. What this all means is that you could essentially gain from market growth, while at the same time knowing that your loss potential is limited if or when the stock market experiences downturns. But along with the good, there can also be some tradeoffs that you’ll need to make with this type of product. We’ll get into these later in this review.

Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures we need to provide…

This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Great American Life 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 details on how you can compare annuities so that you can determine which one may be right for you, click here to instantly download our free annuity report.

How Great American Describes the Indexed Summit 6 Annuity

According to Great American Life, the Index Summit 6 variable indexed annuity offers a number of enticing features, including:
  • Opportunity for Growth – Even though your money will not be directly invested in the market, the Index Summit 6 annuity can provide you with the opportunity for growth.
  • Principal Protection – This annuity also offers some limited downside exposure, which can keep your assets at least partially protected from market losses.
  • No Initial or Recurring Fees – Other than if you surrender the contract or take a withdrawal that is more than 10% of the contract’s value, there are no initial or recurring charges with the Index Summit 6 annuity.
  • Tax-deferred Growth – As with other annuities, the funds that are in the Index Summit 6 annuity are allowed to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This feature can help your money to grow and compound exponentially over the years.
  • Guaranteed Income – When you are ready to start receiving income, you can convert the Index Summit 6 over into an income stream – and if you choose the lifetime income option, the income will continue throughout the remainder of your lifetime. This can help to alleviate the concern about running out of income when you need it later in life.
The Index Summit 6 is the only annuity (at least to date) that offers crediting strategies with both upside and downside participation rates. In addition, the annuity’s crediting strategies offer participation in a variety of market segments with earning potential that is linked to popular indexes and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), including the S&P 500, iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF, and iShares MSCI EAFE ETF. In this case, the Indexed Summit variable indexed annuity offers a 50% downside participation rate, along with current upside participation rates of up to 120%. This, however, is only provided during the first term. Given both the opportunity for diversification, along with the unique combination of upside potential and downside protection, this annuity can help with mitigating market volatility risk, and can also allow for more growth potential in an uncertain market environment. To check out the current rates on the Index Summit 6 annuity from Great American, you can go HERE. But even though this combination can mean that you could attain greater growth – while only assuming half the risk of index downturns – this won’t last forever. There are some other “bells and whistles” that you’ll find on the Index Summit 6 annuity. These include a return of premium death benefit and a relatively short surrender period of six years. There are also no annual or recurring charges. According to Great American, the Index Summit 6 annuity was developed in collaboration with Raymond James, and the product is offered via brokerage and financial institutions, as well as through banks and independent broker-dealers. Because the Index Summit 6 is a variable annuity, a prospectus must be provided to prospective purchasers before buying this financial product. A copy of the Index Summit 6 annuity prospectus can be found by going HERE.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor May “Pitch” this Annuity to Clients

If you have been approached by an insurance or financial advisor regarding the Great American Index Summit annuity from Great American, it is likely that he or she focused in on some of its highlights, including the:
  • Opportunity for higher growth than with a fixed annuity, CD, or other “safe” financial vehicle
  • Ability to cut or reduce losses, even in the event of a market downturn
  • Death benefit that may be obtained by survivors, thus leaving a legacy
  • Tax-deferred growth
Because this annuity offers the opportunity for guaranteed growth with a declared rate strategy, an insurance or financial advisor may focus on this, too, as your money can grow at a fixed interest rate that is set at the beginning of each term. Here, for instance, you know that your money is protected by the downside participation rate – and because of that, there are no surprises. Given all of these great features, though, there are a few items that you need to be mindful of – starting with the fact that even though there is some downside protection, there could still be a chance of loss (unlike a regular fixed annuity, or even a fixed indexed annuity). Also, the upward return is capped. So, even if the underlying index(es) have a stellar performance, you might not necessarily participate in the full return in this annuity. There are also some potential fees to be mindful of, as well.

What About the Fees on the Index Summit 6 Annuity?

While there are no up-front commissions and no recurring charges, you could still run into some fees if you purchase the Index Summit 6 Annuity from Great American – starting with surrender charges if you make withdrawals that are in excess of your contract value during the surrender period. There surrender charges are as follows:

Great American Index Summit 6 Annuity Surrender Schedule / Charges

Contract Year1234567+
Surrender Charge %8765430

In addition, if you make such withdrawals before you turn age 59 ½, then you could also incur an additional 10% “early withdrawal” penalty from the IRS.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Great American Index Summit 6 Annuity

Where it works the best:
  • If you want the opportunity for a higher return than a regular fixed annuity
  • If you have a higher risk tolerance
  • If you plan to use the guaranteed income feature
Where it works the worst:
  • If you want principal protection for all funds in the annuity
  • If you do not have a high-risk tolerance
  • If you do not plan to use the income feature
If you are still considering the purchase of the Great American Index Summit 6 annuity, but you’re currently on the proverbial fence regarding whether or not it will be right for you, we can help you to “test” it, based on your specific scenario, at no cost or obligation. Just let us know if this is something that you are interested in doing, and we’ll get on the case right away!

In Summary

There is a wide array of items to consider before you commit to purchasing an annuity. As it pertains to the Great American Index Select 6 annuity, you can certainly enjoy the opportunity for higher growth, along with tax-deferral – and of course, the ongoing income feature down the road. But even given all of the nice features that this annuity can provide, it may not be the best annuity for you, and quite frankly, there may be a better alternative out there for you, based on your particular short- and longer-term goals. With that in mind, if you still have any additional questions on the Index Summit 6 annuity – or for that matter, any other annuity product – please feel free to reach out to us directly and talk with one of our annuity specialists.

Need More Information on the Great American Index Summit 6? Any Other Annuities You’d Like Us to Review?

We realize that this annuity Great American Index Summit 6 annuity review may have run a bit long. So, we do thank you for sticking with us here to the end. But quite frankly, we would much rather that you have “too much” information on this product than to not have enough. So, if you found this annuity review to be beneficial, please feel free to pass it on and to share it with other people who could also find value in it. (And, if you found it to be confusing, please also let us know that, too.) In addition, we are aware that information regarding annuities can, and often does, change. So, if you happened to notice anything in this review that should be updated or revised, let us know and we will be happy to make the necessary edits. Any other annuities that you would like to learn more about? If so, just give us a shout and let us know, and our team will get to working on them right away. Best, The Annuity Gator P.S. If you would like to read more of our Great American annuity reviews here are some links to check out:   Independent Review of the Great American Index Summit 6 Variable-Indexed Annuity  

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