What’s covered in this Review?

In this annuity review, we will be covering the following details regarding the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II:

  • Product typeIndependent Review of the Guardian Life ProStrategies Variable Annuity
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term return expectations
  • How it is 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 have been considering moving forward with the purchase of annuity because you want to assure yourself of a reliable, ongoing income stream in retirement, then the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II could be a good option for you.

But, prior to going full steam ahead with getting this annuity, it is highly recommended that you first have a much more in-depth idea about how the product works – as well as how it may (or may not) be aligned with your specific financial goals. Then, once you are much more familiar with it, you can feel more comfortable with either moving forward with a purchase, or passing on this annuity and moving on to one that is more beneficial to you.

Throughout the past few years, immediate fixed annuities have become much more popular with retirees as a way to assure themselves of a guaranteed lifetime retirement income – regardless of how long they may live.

But, even though it can certainly be reassuring to have such guarantees, an annuity should always be considered a long-term financial commitment. So, be sure that you know the positives and the possible negatives prior to making a purchase of one.

When seeking both the pros and the cons about annuities, it can be a bit of a challenge to find all of the pertinent details that you need. This is because the positive points about annuities can easily be found in brochures and other marketing materials, while the drawbacks are oftentimes hidden in a myriad of “fine print.” This is where we can help.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust

If you’ve never been to our website before, we would like to thank you for stopping by and visiting AnnuityGator.com. We are a team of experienced financial pros who are focused primarily on offering the most comprehensive – and unbiased – annuity reviews that can be found here on the Internet. We’ve been doing this for many years now – far longer than our competitors, and because of that, we are considered to be a highly trusted source of annuity information online.Independent Review of the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity ll

We have also seen – particularly over the past several years – numerous “copycat” websites appearing online. In doing a bit of research of our own, we’ve found that most of these websites just simply repeat the very basic information about fixed annuities that you’ve likely already heard.

There may be any number of reasons why you’re seeking more information regarding annuities. For example, it could be that you are approaching retirement and you’re looking for a safe place to put your savings so that you won’t lose any of your principal. It could also be that you are seeking more details on how to stretch your retirement income so that it lasts for the rest of your lifetime.

In any case, if you have been spending any amount of time at all with researching annuities, it is probable that you have come across some highly conflicting information about these products. This isn’t really surprising, because there are a lot of different annuities available in the market today, along with numerous opinions about them.

The good news is that, if you are in search of more details regarding the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II, then you are definitely in the right place. But what you will learn here is not just the good, but also the details that could be considered as drawbacks. This is because we feel that knowing the whole picture is the only way to be able to make a clear decision on whether or not an annuity (or any financial product) is right for you.

In order to be perfectly clear here, we want to state for the record that we feel annuities can be very beneficial for many people – provided that the product meets their needs and goals. Given that, this annuity review is here to help you with deciding whether the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II can benefit you, or alternatively, if there is another, better option out there for you.

So, if you are ready to begin, let’s dive in!

Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II at a Glance


Product NameIncome Source Immediate Annuity
IssuerWestern and Southern Life
Type of ProductSingle Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA)
S&P RatingAA (Very Strong)
Phone Number(866) 832-7719

Opening Thoughts on the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II

Guardian has been a key presence in the insurance industry since 1860. Over the years, this company has successfully weathered many market cycles – and still come out strong. The company offers a wide array of insurance and financial products – including income annuities.

This large insurer has earned a number of awards and accolades, including being ranked as number 218 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list and being named in the Harris Poll as the Life Insurance Brand of the Year (for 2016).

Due in large part to its strong financial footing and timely payment of claims, Guardian has received high ratings from all of the insurer rating agencies. These include a(n):

  • A++ (Superior) from A.M. Best
  • AA+ (Very Strong) from Fitch
  • Aa2 (Excellent) from Moody’s Investor Service
  • AA+ (Very Strong) from Standard & Poor’s

Because so many companies have done away with their defined benefit pension plans, people who are planning for retirement now need to take it upon themselves to ensure that they will have long-lasting income, and ideally an income stream that won’t run out when they still need it.

Immediate fixed annuities can definitely solve this concern. But it is important to note that not all of these products are exactly the same. That’s why it can be extremely beneficial to do some research on the annuity itself, as well as the company that’s offering it before you commit what will likely be a significant sum of your retirement savings.

Before we get into the in-depth details, we have some legal disclosures to present…

This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Guardian 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 more details on how to compare fixed annuities so that you can decide which may be the best one for you, in order to obtain our free annuity report.

How Guardian Describes the Guaranteed Income Annuity II

Guardian describes the Guaranteed Income Annuity as a single premium fixed immediate annuity that creates a stream of guaranteed income. This income stream can last for your lifetime or your spouse’s lifetime, or for a set period of time that you choose.

This annuity offers a number of key benefits, such as:

  • Options for receiving guaranteed payments for life
  • Fixed annuity payments that are not affected by market performance
  • A compound interest feature that will annually increase the annuity payments, if you choose, in order to help keep pace with future inflation
  • A one-time payment acceleration feature that allows you to receive your next scheduled payment and a discounted present-day value lump-sum of the next five annuity payments. (See additional details on this Payment Acceleration Rider below).

The payments from this annuity are determined, based on several factors, including:

  • The amount of your single premium payment (which is adjusted for any annuity taxes, depending on your state of residence)
  • The age and gender of the annuitant (i.e., the person who is actually receiving the income payments) on the commencement date (the day on which the first annuity payment is processed)
  • The annuity payout option you select (which can include a certain time frame or payments that last throughout the remainder of your lifetime)
  • The frequency of your annuity payments (i.e., monthly, annually, etc.)
  • The interest rate factor that is available at the time of purchase

This annuity has some other features included, too, such as a death benefit whereby a named beneficiary can receive the benefits of the annuity if the annuitant should pass away.

If you purchase the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II with after-tax dollars and you select the Life Annuity with Guaranteed Period option or the Life Annuity with Refund Certain option with a monthly payment frequency, your contract will automatically include the Payment Acceleration Rider.

After attaining age 59 1/2, and if you have at least six months remaining in your applicable guaranteed period, then you can request to receive the next monthly annuity payment plus a lump sum equaling the present-day value (which is a lower, discounted value) of the next five annuity payments. Your scheduled annuity payments will then resume six months after the accelerated payment.

You can make this request for any reason – however, you are only allowed to exercise this option once during the lifetime of the annuity. Also, if you exercise this rider, the amount guaranteed to be paid over the applicable guaranteed period will be reduced, and the lump-sum of accelerated payments will be reported to the IRS as being fully taxable.

If you want to take a peek at the product brochure for the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II, you can do so here.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this Annuity

With many types of guarantees, you can sit back and relax, knowing that what is expecting will occur. This is why so many people love to receive guarantees. When it comes to the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II, you can receive a guaranteed amount of income for a term of time that you select.

With that in mind – particularly given that many retirees’ biggest worry is running out of income in retirement – it is likely that an insurance or financial advisor who is presenting you with this annuity will focus on its income guarantee.

Also, because this is an immediate annuity, your income stream must begin within 12 months of purchasing the annuity. So, provided you’ve got this product properly set up, you could keep pace with your reliable post-retirement income, just like you did while you were working.

However, even though this might sound like a bowl of cherries, the reality is that you may need to make some “trade-offs” in order to obtain these benefits. For instance, this is an immediate annuity, you will need to convert the funds over into income within the first 12 months of purchase – which means that you can miss out on long-term tax-deferred or tax-free income growth here.

In addition, with an immediate annuity, as with most other annuities, you will be committed to the contract once your free look period has expired. In this case, though, you will be either restricted or barred altogether, from getting any refund or your principal. Give that, be sure that you know that this annuity is a long-term commitment.

Plus, if you end up “dying too soon” after you purchase an immediate income annuity, you won’t receive any of the benefits of the future payments that were expected. So, while you could end up receiving income for an indefinite period of time, keep in mind that this could be very long or very short.

Likewise, as with most other financial vehicles, you can face opportunity risk when you choose one over another (another meaning both now and in the future).

What About Any Taxes and/or Fees on the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II?

If you purchase an immediate annuity with after-tax dollars, then each of your annuity income payments that are made will consist of both a taxable income portion and a return of premium portion (which is non-taxable).

It is important to point out, though, that while the return of premium portion is not taxable as ordinary income, depending on the state you reside in, your single premium payment may be subject to an annuity tax which Guardian will deduct from your single premium payment when you purchase the annuity.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II

Where this annuity works best:

Although an immediate annuity may not be the ideal solution for everyone’s needs, this product could fare well for you if you are seeking:

  • A reliable income stream right away (or one that starts within 12 months after purchasing the annuity)
  • A place to move funds from an IRA, 401(k), or other types of retirement plan so that you can convert it from a lump sum of savings into income
  • A solution to the worry about running out of income in retirement

Where it works the worst:

Even though the Guaranteed Income Annuity II from Guardian offers some nice benefits, this particular annuity may not be for you if you:

  • Have less than $10,000 to deposit
  • Feel that you may need some (or all) of your funds for other needs
  • Do not plan to use the annuity for income

In Summary

If you’ve been considering the purchase of an annuity – or any financial vehicle, for that matter – it is always important that you consider several factors prior to moving ahead. That way, you will have a much better idea as to whether or not the product is right for you and your specific needs.

If a fixed immediate income annuity appears to be right for you, however, you can be assured that you will receive a guaranteed income – which is something that most other types of insurance and financial products simply can’t offer.

When considering the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity II, then, there can certainly be some nice benefits. But, this particular annuity might also fall somewhat short – and quite frankly, there could be a better alternative out there for you.

Therefore, if you’re still unsure whether or not the Guaranteed Income Annuity II from Guardian is right for you – or even if you’d like to just obtain additional details regarding annuities overall – please feel free to reach out to us directly via our secure contact form here.

Any Additional Questions? Did You Notice Any Mistakes?

We realize that this annuity review was a tad bit longer. Given that, we would like to thank you for sticking with us to the end. In offering our reviews of annuities, however, we would much rather provide our website visitors with “too much” detail, rather than not enough. So, if you felt that this annuity review was helpful, then please feel free to forward it and share it with others who you think may also find it beneficial.

We also realize that the available information with regard to annuity products can – and often does – change over time. With that in mind, if you happened to run across any details in this annuity review that needs to be corrected or updated, please let us know and we will be happy to get them corrected immediately.

Are there any other types of annuities that you would like to see reviewed on our website?

If so, then we will on it. We are always looking for suggestions on fixed, fixed index, and/or variable annuity products to highlight in our reviews. So, just drop us a line and our team of annuity geeks will start working on it.


The Annuity Gator

Independent Review of the Guardian Guaranteed Income Annuity ll