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Independent Review of The Standard Focused Growth Annuity

What’s Covered In This Annuity Review

In this review, we’ll cover the following information on the Focused Growth Annuity by The Standard:

  • Product TypeIndependent Review of The Standard Focused Growth 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 going with a fixed annuity because you want to ensure that your money will be safe and that you’ll be able to collect a guaranteed, ongoing stream of income in retirement, then The Standard Focused Growth annuity could be a viable alternative for you. One of the key reasons for this is the product’s guarantees, both during the savings phase of the annuity, as well as during the annuity’s income payout period.

Yet, before you run out and sign on the dotted line to commit to this financial vehicle, it is essential that you really know what it is that you are getting into with this fixed annuity from The Standard.

Over the past decade or so, due in part to the constant ups and downs of the market, fixed annuities have become more in demand from those who want to keep their principal safe, as well as for the fact that they offer a lifetime income option that will continue to pay out income for the remainder of your lifetime, regardless of how long that may be. This can alleviate a key worry that is in the minds of many retirees – running out of money before running out of time!

But, while guarantees can be nice, there is typically something that you’ll need to give up in order to get these assurances. In this case, it means that the return you receive on the annuity will most assuredly be quite low – so low in fact that your money is not likely to keep up with inflation. If this happens, then you could face a big problem down the road in terms of being able to purchase the items and services that you need.

Plus, if you move forward and buy this annuity without knowing what you can expect – and you later determine that this really isn’t the ideal financial product for you – then you will incur surrender fees in order to just get out of this annuity.

This review is here to help you make a more informed buying decision regarding The Standard Focused Growth fixed annuity by giving your more insight on both the advantages and the possible drawbacks of this product.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

If you have never been to our website, let us first welcome you here to We encompass a team of experienced and knowledgeable financial professionals who focus on providing highly informative and unbiased annuity reviews.

While you may have noticed other similar websites on your quest for annuity information, we’ve actually been offering product reviews for many years – far longer than most of the other copycat sites. (Although, it has been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery).Independent Review of The Standard Focused Growth Annuity

It is possible that your present insurance or financial advisor has offered you The Standard Focused Growth Annuity. Or, you may have recently attended an annuity seminar where, in return for a free lunch or dinner, you listened to a presentation about this or a similar annuity. But, even though you may feel like the presenter left you “well informed,” it is important that you know more about the entire picture – which includes the good, the bad and the ugly – before you commit what will likely be a large chunk of your retirement savings.

In researching annuities online, you may have come across other annuity websites – many of which tout some pretty bold claims about their annuities, such as:

  • Highest income payouts
  • Low fees
  • Top-rated annuity carriers

But unfortunately, rather than present you with all of the pertinent details about the annuities that they’re marketing, these sites would rather just highlight the good features, in order to get you to provide your contact information.

Yet, as appealing as some of these claims may be, you absolutely, positively need to know both sides of the story when it comes to annuities. This means understanding that, while The Standard Focused Growth Annuity definitely has some positive features, there are also some areas where this annuity will have some big disadvantages.

Unfortunately, while most insurance and financial services representatives will work to do what is right for their clients, they may only place a key focus on the positive features of a product, while leaving out the possible drawbacks

Our annuity reviews, however, will offer you the good and the bad, which in turn can allow you to make a much more well-informed decision as to whether or not The Standard Focused Growth annuity will be right for you.

So, if you are ready to proceed, let’s get started!

The Standard Focused Growth Annuity at a Glance

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

Opening Thoughts on The Standard Focused Growth Annuity

The Standard has more than 100 years of experience in offering products that can help clients to grow and enhance 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.

But unfortunately, 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 OptiMAX fixed annuity for a large chunk of your retirement income, your future purchasing power will definitely be impacted.

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. 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 additional information on how to compare fixed annuities so that you can decide which may be the best on for you, click here in order to obtain our free annuity report.

How The Standard Describes the Focused Growth Annuity

The Standard describes The Focused Growth Annuity as “a rewarding combination of safety, tax deferral, and choice.”

According to the product literature, this annuity offers a robust set of features that can optimize growth potential. So, for those who are longer-term savers who are seeking tax-deferred growth and principal protection, then this can be a good option.

The Focused Growth annuity offers several different options – he 5, 6, 7, and 10, whereby the annuity will be credited with an interest rate that is guaranteed for 5, 6, 7, or 10 years, depending on the option that you select. Once the guarantee period has passed, then the annuity will receive renewal rates that are based on the current economic and interest rate environment. (There is, however, a guaranteed minimum rate, and the renewal rate will never be set below that rate). As with other annuities, the growth that takes place inside of this account is tax-deferred, meaning that there is no tax due on the growth until the time of withdrawal.

How a Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” This Annuity

Given its focus on safety and guarantees, it is likely that if you’ve been presented this annuity by an insurance or financial advisor, that he or she placed a fairly high focus on the principal protection aspect, as well as the minimum interest rate guarantee.

These features are certainly all well and good. However, there’s the rest of the story, too, that a commissioned sales rep may leave out of the discussion. For instance, in order to provide safety of principal, there generally need to be some tradeoffs. In this case, it is in the form of a low return.

Unfortunately, if you plan to use this annuity as a key source of your retirement savings, you may find it difficult to keep up with the rate of inflation, and in turn, your future purchasing power on the goods and services that you’ll need to buy in retirement.

So, unless you are convinced that The Standard Focused Growth Annuity is the right one for you, then it may be beneficial to take a look around at some other, alternate options for you, as there could be something better out there – especially if you are seeking safety of principal, as well as the opportunity for a higher return.

It can be helpful, too, if you have this annuity tested, based on your specific financial figures, time frame, and other key factors. We can do this for you and provide you with a spreadsheet of the results. If you would like to see how The Standard Focused Growth Annuity may perform for you and your situation, then please just let us know via our secure contact form here.

Knowing everything that you need to know about The Focused Growth Annuity from The Standard – or any other annuity, for that matter – could end up saving you a great deal of money and frustration, as knowing more of the details can help you to avoid products that do not truly fit your needs. Otherwise, getting into the wrong annuity could cost a great deal in surrender charges if you change your mind soon after purchasing one and want to get out of it.

Plus, if you would like some additional tips on what you need to know before you buy an annuity, you can also click here to immediately access our free report on shopping for annuities.

What About Fees on the Focused Growth Annuity?

When considering any type of insurance or financial product, you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t have at least some charges or fees. Fixed annuities are no exception. In the case of fixed annuities, you will typically find an up-front commission that is paid out to the sale rep who sells you the annuity. There are usually also annual administrative charges. You may also find anywhere between five and ten years of surrender charges on The Focused Growth Annuity, based on the option you go with.

In this case, the surrender charges that may be incurred will be dependent on the Focused Growth Annuity option that you select. For example, the option with the five-year rate guarantee will have five years of surrender charges. Likewise, the 6, 7, and 10 year options in terms of rate guarantees, will have subsequent 6, 7, or 10 years of surrender charges. These charges are as follows:

Focused Growth Annuity 5

A withdrawal in...Results in a surrender charge of...
Year 18%
Year 27%
Year 36%
Year 45%
Year 54%
Year 6+0%

Focused Growth Annuity 6

A withdrawal in...Results in a surrender charge of...
Year 18%
Year 27%
Year 36%
Year 45%
Year 54%
Year 63%
Year 7+0%

Focused Growth Annuity 7

A withdrawal in...Results in a surrender charge of...
Year 18%
Year 27%
Year 36%
Year 45%
Year 54%
Year 63%
Year 72%
Year 8+0%

Focused Growth Annuity 10

A withdrawal in...Results in a surrender charge of...
Year 18%
Year 27%
Year 36%
Year 45%
Year 54%
Year 63%
Year 72%
Year 81%
Year 90.9%
Year 10+0%

Independent Review of The Standard Focused Growth Annuity

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on The Standard Focused Growth Annuity

Where it works best:

  • Safety of principal
  • Guaranteed lifetime income in retirement
  • Guaranteed rate protection – at least for a short time after purchasing the annuity

Where it works worst:

  • If you are seeking a long-term rate guarantee
  • If you are looking for a higher return
  • If you do not intend on using the lifetime income feature

If order to really get an idea of what the best annuity options are for you, feel free to download our free annuity report here.

In Summary

If you’ve been teetering on the brink of purchasing a fixed annuity – or any annuity, for that matter – but you’ve been hesitant to move forward because you just aren’t sure which annuity might be right for you, it is important that you know all of the ins and the outs of a particular product before you sign on the dotted line. This is because an annuity should always be considered as a long term financial commitment – and if you do end up determining that a particular annuity just isn’t for you after you’ve purchased it, it can be fairly expensive to get out of it.

If you are still leaning towards going with a fixed annuity product like The Standard Focused Growth, than you can rest assured that you will have your principal protected, as well as a set, ongoing stream of income for life that you can count on.

Given all of this, when it comes to The Standard Focused Growth Annuity, there are some very nice benefits. However, this particular annuity product could also fall somewhat short – particularly if you want or need to obtain a higher return.

So, if you still have any questions as to whether or not this annuity would fit into your overall financial plans, then please feel free to reach out to us directly via our online contact form here and our annuity team will be happy to assist you.

Need Additional Info? Did You See Any Mistakes?

We realize that this annuity review was a bit lengthy – and for that, we thank you for sticking with us through to the end. But we would much rather provide too much detail on an annuity than not enough. So, if you felt that this annuity review was helpful, then please feel free to forward it on to anyone else that you think may benefit from it, too.

Also, as humans will often do, we also understand that information about annuities can change quickly. Therefore, if you happened to notice any details in this review that were out of date or that need correction, please let us know that as well, and we will get it fixed quickly.

Are there any other annuities that you would like to also see reviewed?

If you have checked out our list of annuity reviews and there is another annuity (or more than one other annuity) that is not currently in our database, but that you would like to see reviewed, please let us know┬áthe name of the annuity or annuities and our team of annuity “geeks” will get right on it. So, be sure to check back with us soon to see any updates.


The Annuity Gator

Independent Review of The Standard Focused Growth Annuity

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