What will we be discussing in this annuity review?
In this review of the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Flexible Deferred Fixed Annuity, we will be going over the following details:
- Type of annuity
- How the annuity works
- Charges and fees to look out for
- How an agent might present the annuity to you
- Where this annuity may or may not be a good fit
Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in.
We make the complex, simple.
For those who have been considering the purchase of an annuity because they are seeking tax-advantaged growth of savings and the opportunity to receive income for life – regardless of how long you need it – the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Flexible Deferred Fixed Annuity could be a viable option for you.
However, before going out and making a commitment on this – or for that matter, on any – annuity, it is recommended that you first have a good understanding of just exactly how the annuity works so that you know what to anticipate.
Annuities are complex products, and the more “bells and whistles” they offer, the more confusing they tend to be. Because of that, many consumers aren’t completely sure of what exactly they are purchasing – only to find out after they’ve committed to it, the product really isn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
Unfortunately, though, at that point, it is too late to get out of the annuity without having to pay a substantial withdrawal, or surrender, fee. This is definitely not the way to grow and/or protect your hard-earned savings.
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust
If this is the very first time you have visited our AnnuityGator.com 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 are 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!
But, even though these claims may initially sound enticing, it is critical that you verify their validity before you move forward with buying any 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 Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Flexible Deferred Fixed 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.
Just to be clear here, we do want to state that we believe annuities can be a very good financial vehicle to have in your portfolio – but only 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 Kansas City Life GrowthTrack 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 Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Flexible Deferred Fixed Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||Growth Track Annuity|
|Issuer||Kansas City Life|
|Type of Product||Fixed Deferred Annuity|
|A.M. Best Rating||A|
|Phone Number||(800) 821-6164|
Opening Thoughts on the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Annuity
Since 1895, Kansas City Life has been helping its clients to prepare for retirement and to protect what they have built up financially. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, this insurer has several subsidiaries, including:
- Old American Insurance Company
- Grange Life Insurance Company
- Sunset Financial Services
- Sunset Life Insurance Company of America
Kansas City Life offers a wide range of products, including term and permanent life insurance, as well as fixed and variable annuities. As of year-end 2019, the company had revenues of more than $88.3 billion in revenues, which represents an increase of 15% over one year prior. The insurer also took in nearly $55.4 million in net premiums from insurance and annuity sales.
Over the past few years, fixed annuities have become much more popular with investors. One of the key reasons for this is because these products can provide the opportunity for a guaranteed rate of growth, while also keeping the account value safe and sound, no matter what occurs in the stock market. So, this can be comforting in times like the 2008 economic recession, and even the more recent 2020 Coronavirus outbreak and corresponding market drop.
Plus, as with other types of annuities, a fixed deferred annuity will also be able to pay out a lifetime income in retirement so that you don’t have to worry about your income stream running out. In this case, you can count on a specific amount of income in the future.
Yet, as enticing as these features might sound, the reality is that if something sounds “too good to be true” it oftentimes is. With that in mind, it is highly recommended that you check out any additional information that you can find before you commit a large chunk of your retirement savings to this – or any – financial product.
Before we get into the gritty details, there are some required legal disclosures here….
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Kansas City Life 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.Download your Free Annuity Buyers Guide here
How Kansas City Life Describes the GrowthTrack Annuity
Kansas City Life Insurance Company describes its GrowthTrack annuity as a flexible premium fixed deferred annuity, which provides accumulation and guarantees, and has multiple future income options.
According to the insurance company’s website, the GrowthTrack annuity offers numerous benefits, including:
- A low $50 per month minimum premium, or a single premium of $5,000
- 10% per year penalty-free withdrawals
- 1% first-year bonus
- Lifetime income rider
The GrowthTrack annuity has a “redeterminable” guaranteed interest rate. The initial guaranteed rate is set at issue for each policy and it applies until the end of the surrender charge period – which in this case, is 10 full years.
This interest rate is based on the 5-year Constant Treasury Maturity monthly average rate for November of the previous calendar year. According to the GrowthTrack annuity’s product spec sheet, the guaranteed interest rate on the GrowthTrack annuity will be at least 1%, but not more than 3%.
So, at this point, the GrowthTrack annuity from Kansas City Life isn’t really anything to write home about.
There are some additional features, though, that could be enticing, depending on what your purpose is for purchasing the annuity. For instance, a bonus of 1% of the accumulated value is paid at the end of the first year – regardless of how much you have contributed to the annuity.
*It is important to note, though, that according to the GrowthTrack annuity fact sheet, this bonus is not guaranteed.
There is also a death benefit included, whereby if the owner or the annuitant (i.e., the income recipient) passes away before the maturity date, a named beneficiary will receive funds from the accumulated value at the time of death (minus any fees or prior withdrawals).
To take a look at the full product brochure for the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Annuity you can go here.
You can also glance at the GrowthTrack Fact Sheet here.
How an Insurance or Financial Salesperson May “Pitch” the GrowthTrack Annuity
Fixed annuities like the GrowthTrack from Kansas City Life Insurance Company are typically “pitched” by financial or insurance sales agents as safe alternatives with a set amount of growth.
Plus, because fixed annuities offer lifetime income, these products are also oftentimes touted as being a great way to alleviate the concern over outliving your income in retirement. But even so, you have to look at the “tradeoffs” you may need to make in order to secure these nice guarantees – because quite frankly, they may or may not be worth it.
For instance, while you MIGHT receive a 1% bonus on your first year’s contribution, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will provide this to you. On top of that, the low return – which will hover in the neighborhood of between 1% and 3% here – is unlikely to meet, much less beat future inflation. And that could have a negative impact on your purchasing power down the road.
So, you really have to ask yourself whether or not the low (LOW) return is worth keeping your money safe, or if there might be a better option that could still keep your principal protected AND offer you the opportunity for a higher return.
And then there are the fees to consider….
Fees Associated with the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Annuity
For many years now, annuities have gotten a bad rap, in large part because of the fees that they charge. So, it is important that you know where to look for these – even if an annuity otherwise appears to fit in with your financial goals and objectives.
In this case, there is a $30 administrative fee deducted each year from the annuity’s accumulated value. (Although, if the policy has at least $600 or more deposited during a contract year, or has a least $10,000 of accumulated value at the end of the contract year, this fee will be waived.)
There are also some pretty significant surrender charges that can be incurred if you withdraw more than 10% of the contract value during the first 11 years! These start out at 10% in Year 1, and then gradually become less over the next decade. With that in mind, be sure that if you purchase this annuity, you won’t need to access your funds any time soon for any other financial obligation or emergency.
Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule
In addition, if you make such a withdrawal (or more than one withdrawal) before you have reached age 59 ½, you could end up getting dinged again – this time by an additional 10% early withdrawal fee from the IRS.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack Flexible Deferred Fixed Annuity
Where this annuity works best:
While it admittedly has a few flaws, the GrowthTrack Flexible Deferred Fixed Annuity from Kansas City Life Insurance Company could still be a viable option for those who are seeking the following benefits:
- Safety of Principal
- A set rate of interest (plus a possible 1% premium bonus the first year)
- Guaranteed lifetime income
Where this annuity works the worst:
Conversely, this annuity may not fare so well for those who are looking for:
- A higher, market-related return opportunity
- Access to their money without penalty during the first 11 years
It also may not be the right fit if you don’t intend on using the annuity’s lifetime income feature.
If you’ve been teetering on the brink of purchasing an annuity for retirement income purposes, 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 considering the Kansas City Life GrowthTrack annuity, there are definitely some nice features – such as the fact that your money will be safe, and that you can be assured that you’ll receive an ongoing stream of dependable income in retirement.
But even so, this particular annuity could still fall somewhat short – and quite frankly, there could very well be a better option out there for you. In order to get a better idea of how this annuity may perform based on your specific parameters, it should be tested.
Here at Annuity Gator, we can perform this testing for you, free of charge, and will provide you with the results. If this is something that is of interest to you, then please just simply contact us here through our secure online form.
Do You Still Need Any Additional Information? Did You Happen to Notice 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 annuity) that is not currently in our annuity review database, but that you would like to see reviewed, please let us know the 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
P.S. If you would like to read more of our Kansas City Life annuity reviews here are some links to check out: