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Independent Review of the American Equity Life Insurance Company IncomeShield 10 Fixed Indexed Annuity

What Will We Cover in this Annuity Review?

In this annuity review, we will be going over the following details regarding the American Equity Life Insurance Company’s IncomeShield 10 Fixed Indexed Annuity:
  • Product typeIndependent Review of the American Equity 7 MYGA Annuity
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term return expectations
  • How this annuity is best used
  • How it is most 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 considering the purchase of an annuity because you want to your money to grow, while at the same time you want the assurance of having an ongoing lifetime income stream in retirement, then the American Equity Life Insurance Company’s IncomeShield 10 fixed indexed annuity may be a good option for you. But, before you rush full steam ahead with the purchase of this, or any, annuity product, it is highly recommended that you first do a bit of research on how the product works, and on how it may or may not ultimately work out for you and your specific financial goals. Over the past several years, the popularity of fixed indexed annuities has risen substantially. One of the primary reasons for this is because the annuities are considered by many to offer the best of all worlds. What exactly does that mean? For one thing, a fixed indexed annuity will provide you with the ability to attain a return that is linked to an underlying market index (or multiple market indices) such as the S&P 500. But, if the market index performs poorly, you don’t have to worry about losing your hard-earned principal. In addition to that, the growth that takes place inside of the annuity is tax-deferred, meaning that there is no tax due on this gain until the time it is withdrawn – and that can allow for a nice compounding of your funds. Plus, as with other types of annuities, the fixed indexed version also allows you to opt for a guaranteed lifetime income in retirement. So, you can count on receiving incoming cash flow for as long as you (as well as your spouse or partner, if applicable) may need it. However, before you run out and plunk down a sizeable portion of your savings on a fixed indexed annuity, there are some things that you really need to know – primarily because if you end up committing to a long-term financial vehicle like an annuity, and then you want to get out of it, you could incur some sizeable financial penalties. That isn’t to say that fixed indexed annuities are bad. They’re not – provided that they fit in with your particular financial needs and goals, and that you are fully aware of what the “tradeoffs” are for obtaining these nice benefits. That’s where we can help.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Advice that You Can Trust

If this is the first time you have been to our website, we would like to personally welcome you here to We are a team of experienced financial professionals who are dedicated to providing non-biased and in-depth reviews of annuity products. We’ve been at this for a number of years now – far longer than most of our “copycat” competitors – and because of this, we have come to be known as a highly trusted source of annuity information.Independent Review of the American Equity Life Insurance Company IncomeShield 10 Fixed Indexed Annuity If you’ve been seeking information about annuities online, it is likely that you have come across many conflicting details about these financial vehicles. This isn’t really very surprising, though, because there are a lot of opinions (both positive and otherwise) about these products floating around the Internet. You may also have recently attended a seminar about annuity products. During this workshop, the presenter may have discussed with you the many benefits of the American Equity Life Insurance Company Income Shield 10 annuity, or some other similar annuity offering. Your attendance at that seminar may even have been the reason that you ended up here on our site, in search of more details that could help you with making your ultimate decision regarding whether or not to move forward with this annuity. Although there are actually many different websites online that focus on providing annuity products and information, there are some that will attempt to lure you in with some pretty bold claims like:
  • Lowest Fees
  • Highest income payouts
  • Guaranteed lifetime income
  • Top-rated companies
Sound familiar? However, even though these claims do sound very appealing, it is really important that you know whether or not they are actually true. And this is exactly where the Annuity Gator comes in. In fact, if you’ve come here in search of more in-depth details on the IncomeShield 10 fixed indexed annuity from American Equity, you are certainly in the right place. We dare say that the website you are on right now is the only place where you can find out all of the information – the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. Knowing the whole picture, though, can help you in determining whether this product will be right for you. Just to be perfectly clear, here, a fixed indexed annuity can provide some nice benefits. This, however, is really only the case if the product fits in with your specific financial plans. With that in mind, you should also know why you’re going with the annuity – and why you are choosing it over a long list of other potential annuities that may be available to you. So if you’re ready to learn more, then let’s dive in!

American Equity Life Insurance Company IncomeShield 10 at a Glance

Product NameIncomeShield 10
IssuerAmerican Equity Life Insurance Company
Type of ProductFixed Indexed Annuity
S&P RatingA- (Strong)
Phone Number(888) 221-1234

Opening Thoughts on the American Equity IncomeShield 10 FIA Annuity

American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company is a company that is well known for being a specialist in the annuity niche. This company was founded in 1995 – and, even though American Equity is considered by some standards to be “newbie” in the insurance and annuity industry, it has definitely made a name for itself in just a short period of time. This is especially true in the area for fixed and fixed indexed annuity products. As of year-end 2016, American Equity Life Insurance Company held approximately $48 billion in assets. This insurance carrier is considered to be strong and stable from a financial perspective, and it has also earned good, positive ratings from the insurer rating agencies. These include an A- from Standard & Poor’s, and an A- from A.M. Best. Over the past several years, annuities have become a very popular financial product – particularly for retirees and those who are approaching retirement. One of the biggest reasons for this is because an annuity will allow your money to grow tax-deferred, and it can also provide you with a lifetime stream of income that you literally cannot outlive. Fixed indexed annuities in particular have become a top choice for investors, as they allow the opportunity to earn higher returns that a regular fixed annuity, while at the same time keeping your principal safe from volatile market movements. Yet, even though this might sound like a win-win-win situation, the reality is that if something sounds like it may be too good to be true, then it typically is – so you should ideally get as much in-depth detail as possible if you are considering committing to it for the long term.

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 Equity 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 out perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Before purchasing any type of insurance and/or investment 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 situation. All of the names, marks, and materials that were used for this annuity review are the property of their respective owners. For more information on how to compare annuities in order to determine which one may be the best for you and your financial circumstances, click here to obtain our free annuity report.

How American Equity Life Describes the IncomeShield 10 Annuity Product

Based on American Equity Life Insurance Company’s literature regarding the IncomeShield 10 Fixed Indexed Annuity, this annuity’s design offers the guaranteed benefits of principal protection, tax-deferred growth, diverse crediting options, and income that cannot be outlived. The company brochure highlights several of the annuity’s key features, including: – Premium Bonus – The IncomeShield 10 includes a 7% premium bonus on all of the premium that is received during the annuity’s first contract year. The bonus is applied to the contract value on the date received, allocated into the same values as the premium, and will vest over time. This can really provide you with a jump start with regard to the annuity’s value, and can also help to increase interest growth, right from the beginning. – Principal Protection – With the IncomeShield 10, your premium payments are secure. In addition to that, any of the interest that is credited to the contract will be locked in, and it cannot be lost – even if the underlying index performs poorly in the future. – Tax-Deferred Growth – As with other types of annuities, the gain in the account value will not be taxed until the time of withdrawal. This, in turn, can allow the money you have in the account to compound, based upon receiving interest on the principal, interest on the interest, and interest on the money that otherwise would have been subject to taxes (if this were a taxable situation). – Guaranteed Income – The IncomeShield 10 annuity also offers several different income payout options, including a lifetime option that will continue to pay out for the remainder of your lifetime. – Liquidity – Each year, you are allowed to withdraw some money from the account, if needed, without penalty. (Although it is important to keep in mind that annuities are typically always viewed as a long-term endeavor). The annuity also offers some added bells and whistles, such as a death benefit, as well as “qualified care needs,” which include a nursing care rider, and a terminal illness rider. These riders can allow you to receive funds from the annuity, penalty free, provided that you meet certain criteria. In addition, if you choose to include the Lifetime Income Benefit Rider (LIBR), then you can obtain even more income assurance with this annuity – plus, depending on the LIBR options that you go with, you may be able to start taking income payments any time after the first contract anniversary, with no surrender charge, or even having to annuitize the contract. All of these details are covered in full in the IncomeShield 10 annuity brochure from American Equity Life Insurance Company. For even more details on how this annuity works, feel free to watch the American Equity IncomeShield Series video by clicking HERE.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor May Pitch This Annuity to Clients or Prospects

Today, people are living much longer than ever before – and, while that can be positive in many respects, it can also bring about the worry of outliving your income in retirement. With many people who are preparing for retirement being concerned about growing their savings, while at the same time keeping their principal safe, it is possible that an insurance or financial advisor would present this annuity as a vehicle for accomplishing both of those goals. Plus, there is also the option to choose income for life with this product, either for just one individual or for two individuals. What the agent may or may not heavily focus on, however, is the “fine print” – which is important for you to know, though, as it will outline the parameters that are required for some (or all) of the annuity’s benefits to kick in. First off, even though the premium bonus can certainly give your account value a boost, it takes more than a decade for you to be fully vested with these funds. In fact, it takes eleven years to be exact, before you will be 100% vested.

IncomeShield 10 Annuity Premium Bonus Vesting Schedule

Contract Year1234567891011+
Vested Percent0102030405060708090100

Also, as with many other fixed indexed annuities that are available in the market today, a cap rate could hinder your upward returns. That’s because if the underlying index that your annuity is tracking has an absolutely stellar performance in a given year (or for that matter, even if the performance percentage is any amount over the cap rate), your return will be “capped” or limited to the cap rate. This, combined with the various fees that you may be subject to, could possibly render a much lower return than the 6 to 8% that many insurance and annuity professionals may promise you on fixed indexed annuities. And, while we hate to be the bearer of bad news, isn’t it better to know now rather than after you’ve locked into an annuity?

Are There Any Fees On This Annuity?

Just like with most any other annuity, there are also some fees that you will need to be mindful of if you choose to go with the IncomeShield 10 fixed indexed annuity from American Equity Life. First off, if you should choose to include the Lifetime Income Benefit Income Rider (LBIR), depending on which option you go with, you may have to pay an annual rider fee of anywhere between 0.90% to 1.00%. In addition, even though the word “liquidity” is displayed prominently in the product brochure, the reality is that for the first ten full years of owning the contract, you will incur a surrender penalty if you take out more than 10% of the contract value. And, depending on when (or if) you make such a withdrawal, you could even find yourself paying more than 9% in just penalties. (This is in addition to a 10% “early withdrawal penalty that you could be hit with from the IRS if you withdraw these funds before you turn age 59 1/2). For those who are between the ages of 18 and 80, the surrender charge schedule on the American Equity Life’s IncomeShield 10 annuity grades down as follows:
Contract Year1234567891011+
Surrender Charge %9.19876543210
Independent Review of the American Equity Life Insurance Company IncomeShield 10 Fixed Indexed Annuity

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the American Equity IncomeShield 10 Fixed Indexed Annuity:

Where it works best: This particular annuity will usually work the best for those who are looking for:
  • The opportunity to obtain a higher rate of growth than that of a regular fixed annuity
  • Safety of principal
  • Lifetime income – with income guarantee
Where it works worst: Conversely, this particular annuity may not fare so well for those who:
  • Want to fully participate in market gains
  • Want or need to access their funds penalty-free within the first ten years
  • Do not intend to use the guaranteed lifetime income feature

In Summary

There is a long list of criteria that should ideally be considered when you are thinking about the purchase of an annuity. If you are still leaning towards the purchase of a fixed indexed annuity like the IncomeShield 10, though, you can certainly be assured that your principal will be safe from the ups and downs of the stock market, as well as in that you will have a future retirement income that you can count on. But in reality, the only way to really know if this particular product is right for you is to have it tested. We can do this for you providing you with an in-depth and personalized spreadsheet showing how the annuity may perform given your specific parameters. In going this route, you could find that it fits the bill for you – or, you may also find out that there may be some other products out there that work better for you and your particular situation. If you would like to move forward with “testing” this annuity for your specific needs – at no cost and no obligation – then just simply let us know here via our secure online contact form.

Have Any Additional Questions on the IncomeShield 10 Annuity? Did You Happen to Notice Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?

We understand that this annuity review was a tad bit on the long side. So, we thank you for sticking with us here to the end. However, when we are creating our reviews here at, we would much rather “err” on providing “too much” information for our readers rather than not enough. That way, you will be in a better position to make a truly informed decision as to whether or not a particular annuity product is right for you. In addition, we also know that annuity information can – and often does – change on a regular basis. So, if you happened to notice any details in this review that may need to be updated or revised, then please let us know that as well, and we will be happy to make any of the needed changes here. Likewise, if reading this review caused even more confusion about this product, then please click here in order to let us know that too. Any other annuities you would like to see reviewed on our website? If so, just let us know the name of the product (or products), and we will get right on it. Best, The Annuity Gator P.S If you would like to read more of our American Equity annuity reviews here’s some links to check out: Independent-Review-of-the-American-Equity-Life-Insurance-Company-IncomeShield-10-Fixed-Indexed-Annuity-  
  • Ken Krawczak
    7:07 PM, 2 October 2019

    Looking for pro’s & con’s for American-Equity IncomeShield 10 & no-fee rider annuity. Also any other info that might help me whether or not to purchase this annuity.

  • Annuity Gator
    2:32 PM, 8 October 2019

    Hi Ken– Thank you for your message.
    We would be happy to compare these two annuities for you and ser their pro’s and con’s. Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    Annuity Gator

  • John
    5:42 AM, 26 June 2023

    The current IS10 disclosure shows a 1.2% rider fee for the Life Income Benefit Rider with Wellness Benefit, 7% compound interest. It’s labeled Option 5. The rider fee is deducting 1.2 % of the the Life time balance from the contract value. I suspect this will result in something greater than 1.2% of the contract value being deducted annually. Between the rider fee, financial advisor fee, and unknown participation rate on the disclosure, growth of the contract value seems to be an uphill struggle.

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