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Independent Review of the Jackson National Life OptiMAX Fixed Annuity

What will be covered in this annuity review?

In this review of the Jackson National Life OptiMAX fixed annuity, we will be discussing in detail the following information:

  • Type of annuity
  • How the annuity works
    Independent Review of the Jackson National Life OptiMAX 100 Fixed Annuity
  • Pros and cons
  • How the annuity may be best used
  • How the annuity may be 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 a fixed annuity because you want to be sure that you’ll have retirement income that lasts throughout your retirement years, then the Jackson National OptiMAX fixed annuity could be a viable option for you.

One key reason for this is because this particular product offers several guarantees, both during the savings, or “accumulation” phase of the annuity, as well as during the time that you’d be receiving your income.

But, before you run out and make any kind of long-term commitment to buy this – or any other – annuity, we highly recommend that you first get a clear idea of just exactly how it works, as well as how it may – or may not – fit in with your overall financial goals. Then, once you have done so, you will either be much more comfortable in moving forward with the Jackson National OptiMAX annuity, or in looking elsewhere for a viable alternative.

Throughout the past several years, fixed annuities have become quite popular again, especially for those who are seeking a set rate of growth and safety of principal, along with a guaranteed lifetime income that can’t be outlived.

Fixed annuities tend to offer a long list of worry-free features, like no losses – even in a down market. So, while others are glued to their television or smartphone calculating how much they’ve lost when the stock market “corrects,” fixed annuity owners can still sleep pretty well at night!

Yet, while fixed annuity guarantees may be reassuring, it is essential to keep in mind that due to the historically low-interest-rate environment that we’ve been living in for the past decade or so, the growth that you ultimately get may not even be enough to keep pace with inflation.

Plus, all annuities are considered to be very long-term commitments. So, unless you are completely sure at this moment that this is the annuity for you, then you could also run the risk of purchasing this annuity, and then changing your mind down the road – in which case it could cost you a hefty surrender penalty if you want to get out of it.

This Jackson National OptiMAX annuity review is here to help you with understanding not just the “highlights” of this annuity – which your financial advisor or a seminar presenter may have already presented you with – but also the elements of the annuity that may be considered real drawbacks. Knowing the whole story can help you to better determine where this annuity may be strong, as well as where it could end up falling short.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

If this is your first visit to our website, please allow us to officially welcome you here to Annuity Gator. We are a team of financial and retirement income specialists who are keenly focused on providing comprehensive, yet unbiased, annuity reviews. We’ve been at this for quite a while now – and far longer than our competitors – and because of that, we have come to be a highly trusted source of annuity information on the Internet.

When looking for details about annuities online, it’s possible that you have run across a lot of very conflicting opinions about them. This, however, is not really all that surprising. That’s because there are many different annuity products available, and many people – both consumers and financial advisors alike – will often have differing thoughts.

It could also be that you have recently attended an annuity seminar where, in return for a free lunch or dinner, the presenter provided you with a great deal of information about the Jackson National OptiMAX fixed annuity, or some other similar insurance or financial product.

In fact, you may have even set a follow-up meeting with the seminar presenter, which in turn, has led you here to the Internet in search of more detailed information about this (and/or other annuities).

Yet, even though there are a number of decent websites online that provide information about annuities, there are some other sites that will work hard at “luring” you in by making some pretty bold claims about annuities like the following:

  •  Lowest fees
  •  Highest income payouts
  •  Guaranteed lifetime income
  •  Top-rated companies

Look familiar?

It’s certainly easy to see why these claims are so enticing. But the problem is, they aren’t necessarily true! In fact, they are oftentimes based on “what ifs,” rather than on hard evidence. And we all know that “hope” is not a strategy – especially when you’re planning your retirement income.

This is where Annuity Gator comes in.

On our annuity review database, you will find the whole gamut of information about fixed, fixed indexed, variable, MYGA, and a whole host of other specific annuities.

This includes the good features, as well as the not-so-good. And, while discussing annuity drawbacks might end up turning some people away from these products, it is much better to know “the whole story” up-front, rather than making an expensive (and long-term) mistake with your retirement savings.

In fact, we would much rather see people shop a little longer to find the financial product(s) that works for them, rather than jumping in and getting the wrong thing – and oftentimes having to pay a hefty “surrender” penalty to get out of it.

In order to be perfectly clear, here, we do want to let it be known that we like annuities very much here at Annuity Gator. In fact, these products can provide some wonderful benefits – but this is really only the case if the product actually fits in with your specific financial goals.

The review that you are in the process of reading right now was created with the intent of assisting you with better understanding all of the “fine print” that is associated with the OptiMAX fixed annuity from Jackson National.

So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s go ahead and dive in!

The Jackson National OptiMAX Fixed Annuity at a Glance

Product NameOptiMAX
IssuerJackson National
Type of ProductFixed Annuity
Standard & Poor's RatingA+ (Strong)
Phone Number(877) 565-2968

Opening Thoughts on the Jackson National OptiMAX Fixed Annuity

Jackson National Life Insurance Company has been in operation since 1961. While it began as a small family-owned business, over time the company has grown into a multi-billion dollar organization.

As one of America’s top annuity providers, Jackson is leading the charge to educate Americans about the importance of reliable retirement income, and to ensure the value of annuities is a foundational component of retirement planning.

Out of the 50 largest individual U.S. life insurance companies (ranked by total statutory assets), Jackson ranks as the:

  •  7th largest U.S. life insurance company ranked by total statutory assets.
  •  15th largest U.S. life insurance company ranked by general account assets.
  •  21st largest U.S. life insurance company ranked by statutory surplus plus asset valuation reserve and interest maintenance reserve.

Based on the company’s financial strength and stability, along with its positive reputation for paying out its policyholders’ claims, Jackson has earned high ratings from the insurer rating agencies. These include a(n):

  •  A (Excellent) from A.M. Best
  •  A+ (Strong) from Fitch Ratings
  •  A+ (Strong) from Standard & Poor’s
  •  A1 (Good) from Moody’s Investor Service

Just a few of the other accolades that define Jackson include its ranking as:

  •  #1 seller of annuities in the U.S. during 2019
  •  #1 in variable annuity sales in the U.S. during 2019
  •  7th largest seller of fixed index annuities in the U.S. during 2019

The demand for fixed annuities – which are always backed by insurance companies – has been steadily increasing ever since stock market volatility has become the norm, rather than the exception over the past several years.

In fact, the biggest fear on the minds of many retirees these days is running out of money. Fewer people are retiring with employer-sponsored pension plans, so they have to “create” on for themselves. This is what a fixed annuity can do.

On the other hand, due to the historically low-interest-rate environment of late, the return that is offered by most fixed annuities is so low that it typically can’t even meet, much less beat, inflation.

Also, annuities are considered to be longer-term financial options. So, if you purchase one, and then you change your mind down the road and you want to cancel it, you will usually incur a surrender charge. This is why it is essential to understand just exactly what it is that you are getting before you make a commitment.

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. Jackson National Life Insurance Company 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 one for you, click here in order to obtain our free annuity report.

How Jackson National Describes the OptiMAX Fixed Annuity

Based on the product literature from Jackson National, the MAX series of fixed annuities can provide you with:

  • Principal Preservation
  • Competitive Interest Rates
  • Your choice of interest rate guarantee periods
  • Tax-deferred interest accumulation
  • Options for guaranteed retirement income – which includes a lifetime income option

These annuities are designed for providing a secure retirement income, as well as tax-deferred accumulation that can continue to grow and compound until the time you withdraw it.

The product brochure even goes so far as to show the difference between taxable growth versus tax-deferred.

There are also some other features that you could add to the OptiMAX annuity, including an extended care benefit, and a terminal illness benefit – which would allow you to withdraw funds from the annuity, without penalty, if you required extended care in a hospital or nursing home, or if you were diagnosed with a qualifying terminal medical condition.

How a Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” The Jackson National OptiMAX Annuity

Given the highly volatile stock market over the past few years, many people – and especially those who are inching their way towards retirement – are looking for a way to keep their principal safe, while also knowing that they’ll have income they can count on in the future.

With that in mind, the Jackson National OptiMAX fixed annuity can offer some enticing benefits – including a guaranteed interest rate period. With that in mind, you can have a fair amount of certainty if you purchase this annuity. And, it is this predictability that a financial or insurance advisor will likely highlight when showing you this product.

But, if you look just a bit more closely at the “small print” you’ll notice that in terms of this annuity’s “competitive interest rate” feature, that the rate could be less in later years that it is initially. So, this means that you could end up with an even lower rate in the future on this annuity – once you’ve already locked in your purchase.

On this fixed annuity contract, the interest rate guarantee is for one year (on the standard contract). Optional extended guarantee periods of 3 or 5 years are also available but according to the product website, these are “subject to availability.”

In fact, according to the company itself, “The initial interest rate credited to the 3- and 5-year extended guaranteed periods will be lower than that credited to a contract with a 1-year rate guaranteed period.” So much for a long-term set return.

When it’s all said and done, the Jackson National Life website states that, even though there is a rate guarantee, “The guaranteed minimum interest rate will be declared each calendar year and will fall between 1% and 3%.”

And, although you can still compound your returns tax-deferred over time, the truth of the matter is that this is a feature that is found on all annuities – so it’s really nothing stellar to write home about when it comes to the OptiMAX annuity.

So, if you aren’t yet 100% sold on this annuity, it’s easy to see why. Better to have a good feel for how it works now, rather than later – when it could be too late to get all of your money out. With that in mind, if you do happen to have any additional, more in-depth questions about the Jackson National OptiMAX, please feel free to reach out to us via our secure contact form here and one of our annuity experts can walk you through and answers.

In addition, if you’d like to read up on how annuities work – as well as the things that you need to know before you purchase an annuity – then just simply click here in order to instantly receive, with no obligation, our free report on what you need to know prior to purchasing an annuity.

What About the Fees on the Jackson National Life OptiMAX Annuity?

Most all financial and insurance products will have at least some type of fee connected to them – and the OptiMAX annuity from Jackson National is no different. Fixed annuities will oftentimes have an upfront commission, much of which goes to the agent who sold you the annuity. There are also ongoing administrative charges. You can check the Jackson National Life OptiMAX annuity prospectus or website here.

As with most other annuities – fixed, indexed, and variable – the Jackson National MAX annuities also have several years of surrender charges that will be incurred if you decide to withdraw all (or even some) of your money.

For example, you can take out up to 10% of the contract value at any given time without a penalty. But, withdraw out any more than that during the first six years, and you’ll find yourself paying a fee.

Jackson National MAX Fixed Annuity Series Surrender Charge Schedule

Completed years since receipt of each premium payment0123456
Withdrawal / Surrender Charge %6543210

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Jackson National Life OptiMAX Fixed Annuity

Where it works best:

This particular fixed annuity from Jackson National will typically work best if you:

  •  Have a shorter planning time horizon
  •  Want to ensure protection of principal
  •  Are seeking a guaranteed rate – at least for a certain period of time
  •  Want lifetime income

Where it works the worst:

That being said, the OptiMAX may not fare so well for those who are:

  •  Looking for a higher return
  •  Want to access most or all of their annuity deposits within the early contract years
  •  Not looking for, or intending to use, the lifetime income feature

But, even given the information about the OptiMAX annuity, it is difficult to make an across-the-board determination in terms of whether or not certain investors will or won’t benefit from this annuity. The only way to really know if this annuity will work for you is to have it tested. We can provide that test for you by using the Jackson National MAX annuity calculator, and plugging in figures that are more specific to your particular situation. So, if you’d like more detail as it pertains to you and this annuity, please contact us here via our secure contact form.

You can also get more details on how you can compare the best annuity options for you. Just simply click here so that you can immediately download our free report on how to compare annuities.

In Summary

When you are thinking about the purchase of an annuity, it is essential that you consider a number of parameters before you move forward. That way, you will have a much better idea regarding whether or not the product is right for you. This is particularly the case, as annuities are considered to be long-term financial vehicles.

Fixed annuities can certainly have some nice features, such as protection of principal, and providing a guaranteed lifetime income in the future – regardless of how long you (and your spouse, if applicable) may live.

So that being said, the Jackson National Life OptiMAX fixed annuity could be a nice addition to your retirement portfolio. However, it could also fall somewhat short – and quite honestly, there may be some better alternatives available to you. This is especially the case if you are looking for a lifetime income option, along with the opportunity to earn a higher return.

So, if you still have any questions about the Jackson National Life Insurance Company OptiMAX fixed annuity, then please feel free to reach out to us through our secure contact form right here.

Has This Annuity Review Sparked Any Additional Questions or Concerns?

Annuities can be somewhat complex products – even the fixed annuities that may not have quite as many “moving parts” as variable or fixed index annuities. But in any case, these financial vehicles can still be somewhat confusing – even for well-informed consumers. In that case, if this review has sparked any additional questions or concerns that you may have, please let us know and we’ll be happy to address them.

Likewise, if you noticed that any of the information in this Jackson National annuity review needs to be revised or updated, please give us a shout and let us know that too. We’ll be happy to get right on this and make any necessary corrections to the review.

Also, if there are any other annuities that you would like to see reviewed, just let us know, and our team of annuity geeks will get to work on those and have them on our website as soon as possible.


The Annuity Gator

P.S. If you would like to read more of our Jackson National Life annuity reviews here are some links to check out:

Independent Review of the Jackson National Life OptiMAX Fixed Annuity


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