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Independent Review of the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity – [Jan 2020 Update]

What’s Covered in this Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity Review?

In today’s review, I’ll be covering the following information on the Nationwide Life Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity:


  • Product Type
  • 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 are in the process of trying to find a financial vehicle that can provide you with the opportunity to earn market index-linked returns, while also keeping your principal safe and providing you with an ongoing income in retirement, then the Nationwide New Heights 9 fixed indexed annuity could be a good option for you. That is because this annuity allows you the ability to earn a higher return than that of a regular fixed annuity. But if the market heads south, your hard-earned principal will still be safe. Plus, when the time comes to convert the annuity over into an income stream, choosing the lifetime income option will give you an ongoing, lifetime income – regardless of how long you live. But, while this may sound very appealing, don’t run to the nearest financial or insurance advisor quite yet and sign on the dotted line to purchase this annuity – at least not until you have a full understanding of how the product works, and how it may or may not work for you. Over the past decade or so, annuities have become much more popular with investors as a way of getting a guaranteed, ongoing income stream in retirement – particularly because stock market performance can be so unreliable. Yet, this may not necessarily be a good thing because, even though most financial advisors work hard to do what is right for their clients, some of these sales agents may not be providing the best or most knowledgeable advice regarding these products. In addition, because annuities have risen so much in popularity, many insurance carriers have expanded their product lines with annuities that include lost of “moving parts.” However, even though these annuities can help you to better “customize” your plan, they can also be extremely confusing. You also need to be careful of some added charges and fees that can really add up, and impact your overall return. With that in mind, it is recommended that you know just exactly what it is that you are getting into, as locking yourself into one of these products and then trying to get out at a later time could cost you in “surrender” penalties. This is where we come in.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information that Can Be Trusted

If you have not visited our website before, then please allow us to welcome you here to We are a team of experienced financial pros who are highly focused on offering the most comprehensive, and unbiased, reviews of annuities. We’ve been at this for many years – much longer than our competitors, and so we have become a well-known source of annuity information. So, if you’ve been studying up on annuities on the Internet, it is likely that you’ve noticed that there is a great deal of conflicting information out there about these financial vehicles. This really is not all that surprising, though, as there are many different opinions about annuities – both from consumers and insurance professionals. It is possible that you may also have recently attended a seminar about annuities where the presenter offered you a free lunch or dinner and then discussed the details about the Nationwide New Heights 9 or some other similar annuity. Your attendance at that seminar might even the reason you have ultimately landed here on our website in search of additional details. Yet, while there are many websites online that market their annuities to consumers, quite a few of these are really just trying to “lure” people in so that they can get a hold of their contact information. They will often do this by making some pretty bold claims about annuities, like:
  • High-income payments
  • Lowest annuity fees
  • Guaranteed lifetime income
  • 7 – 8% Rate of Return
Look familiar? Even though these claims can be inviting, the truth is that it is absolutely essential that you first make sure that they are actually true. This is particularly the case if you are seriously thinking about moving a large sum of your retirement savings into one of them. And, if you look more closely at the information that is offered on other websites that offer annuity information, you may also notice that many of them are simply just repeating the same information that you can get here first. Whatever the reason is that you have landed here on our website, you are certainly in the right place if you want to know more about the Nationwide New Heights 9 fixed indexed annuity. That is because we give you information regarding the nice benefits, as well as additional details about items that may be considered drawbacks. We do this because we feel that knowing the whole store – and not just part of it – is the only way to make a truly well-informed decision. This is especially important as an annuity could require that you deposit a large chunk of your overall retirement savings. In order to be perfectly clear here, we want to state for the record that we feel annuities are a good product for some investors – provided that the annuity fits in well with one’s overall financial goals. This annuity review is offered to you here in order to help you in ensuring that you are moving in the right direction with the Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity – whether that be to purchase it, or to move on to another alternative that fits your needs and goals better. So, if you are ready to get started, then let’s dive in!

Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity at a Glance

Product NameNew Heights 9
Type of ProductFixed Indexed Annuity
S&P RatingA+
Phone Number(800) 321-6064

Opening Thoughts on the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity

For the past 85 years, Nationwide Insurance Company has placed a primary focus on its customers. With its dozens of affiliated companies, Nationwide – a Fortune 100 company – has grown to become one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world. Nationwide Insurance Company’s advertising jingle, “Nationwide is on your side,” has become well known throughout the years, and it exemplifies how the company treats its individual and business clients – by essentially being on the same side of the table. Considered to be strong and stable financially, the company paid out nearly $19 billion in claims in 2017. As of year-end 2017, some of the other financial highlights for Nationwide include its:
  • $46 billion in total sales / direct written premium
  • $28 billion in operating revenue
  • $562 million in net operating income
  • $236 billion in total assets
Nationwide Life Insurance Company has earned high ratings from the insurer rating agencies, which include a(n):
  • A+ from A.M. Best
  • A+ from S&P
  • A1 from Moody’s
Nationwide has earned a long list of accolades, such as being:
  • #1 in 457 plans (based on the number of plans)
  • #1 total small business insurer
  • #1 writer of farms and ranches
  • #1 pet insurer
The company has also contributed more than $430 million to non-profit organizations since the year 2000 by the Nationwide Foundation. Throughout the years, Nationwide has become a major player in the annuity market place – particularly as retirees and those who are about to retire are concerned with protecting principal, and having an ongoing income that they can count on for the rest of their lives. Due in large part to the constant volatility of the market, fixed indexed annuities have become much more popular over the past decade or so. One reason for this is because these types of annuities can seemingly offer a “best of all worlds” scenario, including the safety of principal, the opportunity for index-linked growth, and a guaranteed stream of income in retirement. Yet, 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! Therefore, 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. Nationwide 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 Nationwide Describes the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity

Nationwide describes the New Heights 9 annuity as a fixed indexed annuity for investors who are wary of market volatility, yet still seek growth potential to help account for inflation and increased expenses as they age. This single purchase payment deferred annuity helps you to accumulate retirement savings and protect your money. Because of its fixed indexed annuity status, the New Heights 9 tracks earnings daily, and does not limit the amount of index performance used in calculating earnings. Although rates can – and often do – change over time, these may not be published in the annuity brochure. Rather, you may be able to find them online. In the case of the Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity, you can check out updated rates HERE. Typically, though, it is best to discuss rates with your broker or agent. You can also contact Annuity Gator via our secure online contact form to set up a time to discuss rates, and any other question you may have, with an annuity specialist. The annuity also have a return of purchase payment guarantee that provides assurance that, should you surrender your contract after the end of the ninth contract anniversary – or if a death benefit is payable or a surrender is triggered due to an event qualifying under the long-term care, terminal illness, or injury event provisions – you will receive 100 percent of your purchase payment back (minus any gross withdrawals). The New Heights 9 annuity also offers some optional riders that may be added, which may help to better customize the annuity to one’s anticipated needs. These include a death benefit and living benefits. The Nationwide High Point Enhanced Death Benefit rider can help you to build a legacy for those who matter most to you. This rider is designed to offer the opportunity for growth potential via either a daily step-up feature, or a guaranteed increase in value with 4% interest on the purchase payment, compounded annually, up to 200% of the purchase payment or until the contract anniversary after the oldest annuitant reaches age 80 (whichever occurs first). Alternatively, this rider offers a joint option that allows the death benefit to be paid out – regardless of whether the annuitant or his or her spouse dies first. (This rider is only available at the time of your initial contract purchase). There is also the Nationwide High Point 365 Lifetime Income Rider. This rider is designed to offer the following features, if suitable:
  • The opportunity for growth potential – even after lifetime income payments have started
  • The greater of (1) a daily step-up feature on the income benefit base that captures the highest daily balanced allocation value or 1% compounded interest annual roll-up on your purchase payment for ten years or until the first lifetime withdrawal, whichever comes first
  • Competitive payout percentages that increase the longer you wait to take lifetime income
  • A joint option for continuation of income to the spouse
As with the enhanced death benefit rider, the High Point 365 Lifetime Income Benefit Rider is also only available at the time of contract issue.

Because the Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity is not a variable product, there is not a prospectus to review. But, if you want to get even more updated info about this annuity directly from Nationwide, you can go HERE to visit the product page on the company’s website, and HERE to check out an updated Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity brochure (which was updated in February 2018).

Likewise, there is a plethora of additional details on the High Point 365 Lifetime Income Benefit rider HERE, as well as on the Nationwide High Point Enhanced Death Benefit rider HERE.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might Pitch This Annuity

Given its fixed indexed annuity status, it is likely that insurance and financial advisors who are presenting this product will key in on its ability to earn a higher rate (in some cases, much higher) than a regular fixed annuity. Yet, it also guarantees that you will never lose any of your initial investment or your credited earnings due to the performance of the underlying index. This particular annuity also has some added “bells and whistles,” which can help to enhance the product to better meet clients’ anticipated needs…even though the optional riders will cost more in premium payment, which in turn, could have an impact on your overall return. If you’ve been offered the Nationwide New Heights 9 by a commissioned salesperson, it is likely that they will focus primarily on the benefits, while leaving out some of the items that could be considered as drawbacks. For example, even though you can get a minimal amount of your contract value out of the annuity without penalty, this annuity actually imposes surrender charges that go on for nine full years after the contract is purchased. So, if you decide after purchasing the New Heights 9 annuity that it really isn’t the right annuity for you, it can be quite expensive to get out of it. In fact, there are no free withdrawals during the entire first year of the contract, and in years 2 through 9, only withdrawals equal to or less than 7% of contract value will receive full earnings. Even after year 9, withdrawals equal to or less than 10% of the contract value will receive full earnings. Also, while the New Heights annuity does not “cap” the amount of index performance that is used in calculating earnings, the growth potential in this annuity could still be limited by the crediting factors that are used for each strategy option – including the equity indexed allocation and the strategy spread. With that in mind, these limitations could reduce your future earnings. In addition, while the annuity offers a return of purchase payment guarantee, this could end up being modified if you purchase one of the optional riders.

Just like with other insurance and financial products, the agent or representative who is offering you the Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity isn’t just doing so out of the kindness of their heart, but rather to earn a paycheck. With that in mind, it is important that you know how – and how much – they will be paid if you move forward with the purchase of this annuity.

One reason for this is because, even though most advisors try to do what is right for their clients, the commission schedule can certainly play a key factor in just how motivated they are to sell you one product as versus another.

In the case of the Nationwide New Heights annuity commission schedule, this annuity has a 9-year contingent deferred sales charge (or CDSC). This would be applied if you surrender the annuity over the first nine years of purchasing it. There are some exceptions, as well as potential differences, based on what state you live in. So, you can go HERE for more information.

In addition, the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity Disclosure provides in-depth information regarding the product itself, how it works – including how earnings are credited to the account and the calculation strategy of earnings – and other important details. To check out the full Nationwide New Heights 12 Fixed Indexed Annuity Disclosure Summary, you can go HERE.

In any case, it always makes sense to consider an annuity as a long-term financial endeavor. So, when considering the amount that you would deposit here, be sure that the funds won’t need to be accessed for a future financial emergency or other short-term needs.

What About Any Fees on the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity?

Just like with most other annuities, the Nationwide New Heights 9 fixed indexed annuity will have charges and fees that you need to be mindful of. In terms of the surrender charge, you will incur a fee of 9% over the first four contract years, and then the amount gradually grades down from there as follows until it finally reaches 0% in year 10:
Contract Year123456789
Charge %999987654
If you take withdrawals from the annuity before you reach the age of 59 1/2, you will also incur an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty from the IRS. The optional riders will also not come for free. In this case, the High Point Enhanced Death Benefit rider has an annual charge of 0.05% – which will be calculated on the enhanced death benefit value and is deducted from the contract value on a quarterly basis. Likewise, the Nationwide High Point 365 Lifetime Income Benefit Rider will also require a charge. Here, there is an annual rider charge rate of 0.95% for the life of the annuity contract. This charge is calculated on the high point income benefit base and it is deducted from the contract value on a quarterly basis. With many annuities, there is an up-front sales commission that is paid to the agent or broker who sells you the annuity. Nationwide also pays the agent or advisor who sells you this annuity. However, the commission will not be deducted from your annuity purchase payment. Rather, the Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity commission is a cost that will be factored into the financial terms and conditions of the annuity contract.

All of this, and then some, is detailed in the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity Disclosure Summary HERE.

You can also review all of the fees in-depth by going to the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity Fee Disclosure Statement HERE.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity

Where it works the best: The Nationwide New Heights 9 fixed indexed annuity may be a viable financial option for you if you are looking for the following features:
  • Protection of your principal
  • Potential for higher growth
  • A lifetime stream of guaranteed income
Where it works worst: This particular annuity may not be your best alternative if you:
  • Want access to more than just a minimum amount of your contract value within the first nine full years (or any of your contract value within the first year)
  • Do not plan to use the guaranteed lifetime income feature
In order to truly know how this annuity may (or may not) work for you, feel free to check out our

In Summary

There can be a long list of factors that should ideally be considered when you are thinking about purchasing an annuity. In any case, though, these financial vehicles should be approached as a long-term commitment, as they can be quite expensive to get out of. With a fixed indexed annuity such as the Nationwide New Heights 9, you can be sure that your money is safe from the ups and downs of the stock market, and that you also have the ability to receive an ongoing income in retirement – regardless of how long you may need it. Given all of this, the New Heights 9 from Nationwide certain does offer some nice benefits. On the other hand, though, this particular annuity could also fall somewhat short – and there could be a better option out there for you. The only way to truly know whether or not this annuity is the right one for you is to have it tested. We can provide that for you and can offer you a spreadsheet of the results. If you would like to run your information through the Nationwide New Heights 9 annuity calculator with one of our annuity experts, then just simply let us know here via our secure contact form.

Any Other Questions? Did You Happen to Notice Any Mistakes?

We know that this review was a bit on the long side. But we would much rather provide too much detail than not enough. That way, you can better compare the pros and the cons of an annuity that you may be considering purchasing. If, however, you do still have any questions about this (or any other) annuity, please feel free to reach out to one of our experts here at through our secure contact form right here. In addition, if there are any other annuities that you would like more information, just let us know that, too and our annuity geeks will get on the case and post more reviews. Best, The Annuity Gator Independent Review of the Nationwide New Heights 9 Fixed Indexed Annuity
  • Thomas Davis
    4:06 PM, 5 December 2017

    Good job….

  • Annuity Gator
    10:54 AM, 12 April 2018

    Hi Thomas – Thank you for your comment. We appreciate hearing from readers, and hope that we have helped you to understand the in’s and outs of different annuities with our reviews. Please be sure to check back frequently for additional annuity reviews. If we can help further, feel free to reach out to us directly at (888) 440-2468, or via our secure online contact form at Best! The Annuity Gator

  • clyde
    5:21 PM, 13 October 2020

    How can I find information and returns on all the annuity nationwide offers

  • Annuity Gator
    9:35 AM, 14 October 2020

    Hi Clyde – Thank you for your message.
    We would be happy to educate you on Nationwide annuities. We can provide you personalized information and help you find out if an annuity is even right for you. In order to best support you, we would need some additional information from you. Rather than sending the info back and forth via email, it would be best to discuss it by phone. 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

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