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Independent Review of the Standard Focus Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity

What Will Be Covered in this Annuity Review

In this annuity review, we will be going over the following details regarding the Standard Focus Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity:
  • Product typeIndependent Review of The Standard Focused Growth Annuity
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term expectations
  • How the annuity is best used
  • How the annuity 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 considering the purchase of an annuity because you want assurance that you’ll have a guaranteed stream of income in retirement and that your money will be safe up until that time, then the Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity could be a viable option for you. This is because the Focused Growth Annuity offers a fixed rate of return for a set period of time that you choose – and when the time comes to convert the annuity over into an income stream, you can also count on incoming cash flow for the remainder of your lifetime (regardless of how long that may be). However, before you run out and make a long-term financial commitment to purchasing this (or any other) annuity, it is essential that you first get a good idea of how it works, and how it may or may not work for you. Throughout the years, annuities have become more popular – especially with retirees and those who are approaching retirement. One reason for this is because they provide a guaranteed income stream, and they (deferred annuities) offer tax-deferred growth of your principal. With a fixed deferred annuity, you also have the added bonus of assurance that your money will be safe – no matter what occurs in the stock market. This can help to alleviate the worry of a market correction impacting your future savings. Prior to signing on the dotted line, though, it’s a good idea to take a close look at an annuity’s fine print. That’s because these products can oftentimes have hidden charges and fees. And, while most insurance and financial companies do a great job of giving you all of the nice, rosy benefits that annuities offer, there can also be a few downfalls. With that in mind, it is much better to know these drawbacks now, as versus after you have already committed a large chunk of your savings to it. That’s where the Annuity Gator comes in.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

If this is the first time that you have visited our website, then please allow us to personally welcome you here. We are a team of highly knowledgeable financial pros who are focused specifically on offering very in-depth and unbiased annuity reviews. We have been at this for quite a number of years now – much longer than our competitors – and because of that, we’ve become a go-to source for annuity information. If you have been in the process of compiling more information on an annuity that you’re considering purchasing, then you have more than likely come across a lot of conflicting information about these products online. This really is not surprising, though, as there is a myriad of details available about these products. There is also a wide range of opinions about them, too. While you’ve been online searching for additional annuity details, you may also have noticed that, while there are plenty of very good annuity-related websites out there, some of them will make some pretty bold claims with the goal of “luring” you in. These may include some or all of the following:
  • Highest annuity payouts
  • Lowest Fees
  • Guaranteed income for life
  • Top-rated annuity companies
  • Get an annuity quote now!
Look familiar? But, even though these claims may sound enticing up front, it is critical that you verify their validity before you move forward with buying an annuity. In doing so, you may have to read through a plethora of annuity fine print – or you could just read on right now. If you are interested in knowing more about the Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity product, though, you are definitely in the right place. In fact, we dare say that our website is the only place online where you will be able to get all of the key details on this annuity – both the good and the bad. This, in turn, can assist you with making a much more well-informed decision about whether or not this annuity fits in with your overall financial goals. Often, financial and insurance advisors who offer annuities will paint a nice, rosy picture for you regarding the opportunity to earn a high return, while also keeping your principal safe in case of a market downturn. But unfortunately, these same advisors may also be conveniently leaving out some of the details that could be considered as drawbacks – which is information that any potential buyer needs to know! One reason for this knowledge is so that you can anticipate how the annuity may (or may not) perform in certain situations. Another is that, once you have committed to an annuity, it can be extremely difficult – and expensive – to get out of it if you change your mind. In order to be perfectly clear here, we want to state that we believe annuities can be a very good financial vehicle to have in your portfolio – but this is only the case provided that it fits in well with your other financial needs and goals. With that being said, this annuity review is here to assist you with getting a better understanding of all of the small print so that you are more knowledgeable about the Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity, and why it may – or may not – work for you. So, if you are ready to begin the review, let’s go ahead and jump in!

The Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity at a Glance

Product NameFocused Growth Annuity
IssuerThe Standard
Type of ProductFixed Deferred Annuity
S&P RatingA+ (Strong)
Phone Number(800) 247-6888

Opening Thoughts on the Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity

The Standard has more than 100 years of experience in offering products that can help clients with growing and be enhancing their wealth. The company began with a focus on those who worked in the logging and timber industry, where a serious injury or death could quickly wreck a family’s finances, and in turn, their future. Throughout the years, the company has grown and expanded a great deal, and as of year-end 2016, The Standard held in excess of $22 billion in total assets. The Standard has also earned high ratings from the insurer rating agencies, including a(n):
  • A+ from Standard & Poor’s
  • A2 from Moody’s
  • A from A.M. Best
The company offers a long list of insurance and financial products, including life insurance, disability insurance, dental and vision insurance, AD&D, critical illness, hospital indemnity, financial plan consulting, fiduciary support, and individual annuities. Fixed annuities offer a nice array of guarantees, which is nice in a world that is filled primarily with “what ifs” – especially when it comes to financial related products. Due to The Standard’s strong financial footing and high ratings, you can be assured that you will receive a guaranteed stream of income from the Focused Growth fixed annuity product. With this particular annuity, you can also feel confident that your hard earned principal will be protected – regardless of what occurs in the market. With that in mind, you don’t need to worry that you will wake up one day and find a huge loss in your annuity account – or for that matter, you won’t find any loss at all. Today, one of the biggest concerns on the minds of retirees is running out of money in retirement. A fixed deferred annuity can, however, help you to solve for this problem because this type of annuity will continue to pay out an income stream for the remainder of your lifetime, as well as that of a loved one if you choose. Yet, even with these nice features, you really need to know more about how the annuity actually works, and what you may need to give up in return for attaining these guarantees. For instance, because interest rates have been historically low over the past several years, the tradeoff is that this annuity will likely only provide you with a minuscule return – one that likely won’t meet (and even more likely, one that won’t beat) inflation in the future. So, if you are planning to use the income from the Focused Growth annuity for a large chunk of your retirement income, your future purchasing power will definitely be impacted.

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. The Standard 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, click here in order to obtain our free annuity report.

How The Standard Describes the Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity

The Standard describes the Focused Growth Annuity as a single premium, deferred annuity offering a robust set of features, plus market value adjustment feature, which optimizes the growth of your savings. With this annuity, you can choose from a five, six, seven, or even a ten-year interest rate guarantee period, which secures the crediting rate for that time period. At the end of the guarantee period that you choose, you will receive competitive renewal rates that are based on the current interest rate environment and current market conditions. There are some additional features on this annuity, including a death benefit, and a waiver of surrender charges if you are diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness and/or if you are admitted to a nursing home. For a full list of the benefits that can be found on the Standard Focused Growth Annuity, you can go HERE.

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

Given that life is filled with so many uncertainties, when you have the opportunity to receive a guarantee, it can be a nice benefit – particularly when it has to do with your financial options. With that in mind, when it comes to the Standard Focused Growth Deferred Annuity, it is probable that an insurance or financial advisor who is offering this product to you will key in on the fact that you can get a guaranteed rate of interest for a set period of time (with this annuity, up to ten full years), and that you can also count on a set amount of income for the remainder of your life. However, whenever any type of guarantee is presented to you – particularly when it involves your money – when you look a little more closely, you may find that there are certain “tradeoffs” that you need to accept in order to attain those benefits. This is the case with the Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity from The Standard. For example here, the longer your interest rate guarantee period, the longer you will also be subject to surrender charges on the annuity. So, for instance, a five-year rate guarantee will also have five years of surrender charges. Likewise, seven years of rate guarantee – yep, seven years of surrender charges if you make a withdrawal of more than 10% of the contract’s value. Also, when it comes to the nursing home and terminal illness waiver benefit(s), there are some guidelines that you must first meet in order to qualify for the surrender charge-free withdrawals. So be sure that you know exactly how you can access these benefits just in case.

What About Fees on the Standard Focus Growth Annuity Product?

While an advisor who is presenting this annuity to you may focus on the fact that there are no annual fees on this annuity, don’t let that lure you into thinking that there are no fees at all – because that’s just simply not the case here. For example, one of the biggest charges that you could run into here is if you make a withdrawal that exceeds 10% of the contract value during the surrender charge period. And, the longer the interest rate guarantee period that you choose, the longer the duration of the surrender charge will be. Here, for instance, the five-year, six-year, and seven-year interest rate guarantee period will have a concurrent surrender charge period. If you choose the ten-year rate guarantee period, your surrender charge period will run for nine years. The amount of the surrender charge you would incur for a withdrawal are as follows:
  • 5-Year Surrender Charge Period – 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%)
  • 6-Year Surrender Charge Period – 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%)
  • 7-Year Surrender Charge Period – 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%)
  • 9-Year Surrender Charge Period – 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0.9%)
In addition, if you take such a withdrawal before you have turned age 59 1/2, then you can also incur an additional 10% “early withdrawal” penalty from the IRS.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity

Where it works best: The Standard Focused Growth Fixed Deferred Annuity may not be right for everyone. However, it could be a viable option if you are seeking the following benefits:
  • A guaranteed rate of interest for a set period of time – up to ten full years
  • Safety of principal, regardless of what happens in the market
  • A lifetime income that you can count on
Where it works the worst: On the other hand, this annuity might not be a viable option if you:
  • Want the potential for higher growth
  • Need to access your money during the annuity’s surrender period
  • Do not plan to use the lifetime income feature

In Summary

There are many different factors that you should ideally consider when you are thinking about the purchase of an annuity. That’s because these products are a long-term commitment. Therefore, you should know how the annuity will produce a return, as well as how safe your money is inside the contract, and how (and when) the income from the annuity will pay out. If you have been considering the purchase of a fixed deferred annuity such as the Standard Focused Growth annuity, then you can be assured that your money will be safe, and that you will also be able to count on a steady stream of income for the rest of your life – regardless of how long that may be. However, there may also be some additional items that you have not considered – and the only way to really know if a particular annuity is going to be right for you is to have it tested. We can provide this testing for you and can offer you a free, no obligation, spreadsheet with the results. So, if this is something that is of interest to you, then all you need to do is simply reach out to us here via our secure online contact form.

Still Have Questions? Notice Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?

We realize that this annuity review was a bit on the long side, so for that, we truly appreciate you sticking with us here to the end. However, we feel that providing our readers a tad “too much” information is always better than not providing them with enough. Therefore, if you found that this review was beneficial to you, then please feel free to share it and to forward it on to anybody else that you think may also benefit from it. Also, we know that the details about annuities – and other financial products, too – can and do change somewhat quickly. With that in mind, if you happened to notice anything in this review that needs to be corrected and/or updated, please let us know┬áthat as well, and we will get on the revisions right away. Are there any other annuities that you would like to see information about? No problem! If you would like to see reviews on any other annuity (or annuities), our team of annuity “geeks” will get on the ball and get them on our website. Just simply click here┬áto let us know which product (or products) you are interested in seeing. And, be sure to check back soon. Best, The Annuity Gator    

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